December 1, 2005 

WORCESTER, Mass. - A review article, co-authored by University of Massachusetts Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology  Yu-li Wang, PhD , demonstrates that cellular behavior such as growth, migration and differentiation are not only controlled by chemical signals, but also by the physical environment surrounding the cell. These findings, based on five years of study in Dr. Wang's lab, and conducted with faculty from the University of Pennsylvania, were published in the November 18, 2005 issue of Science

"This concept, in which the behavior of a cell is shaped by its adhesion to a solid, is having a strong impact on various fields including tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and cancer biology, where it is the recognized physical properties of materials used to support cells that may have profound effects on outcomes," commented Wang. "Conversely, defects in the responses to rigidity signals may also play a role in cancerous growth and invasion."

Wang received his bachelor's degree in physics from National Taiwan University and his PhD in Biophysics from Harvard University.  He joined the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research as a staff scientist in 1982 and, in 1987 was promoted to senior scientist. He joined the UMMS Department of Physiology in 1997 when the Worcester Foundation merged with the Medical School.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The Medical School attracts more than $174 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts. For more information visit .

Contact: Kelly Bishop, 508.856.2000,