Faculty Research

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  • Zheng Shi
  • Assistant Professor
  • Research Synopsis: our group combines biophysical chemistry, molecular biology, and microscopy techniques to tackle interesting questions involving the coupling of physics to biochemistry in cells.
  • zheng.shi@rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-3246




The Shi lab combines biophysical, photochemical, and optogenetic tools to study the properties of cell membranes and other biomolecular assemblies. We aim to understand the mechanical behavior of cell membranes and how the mechanics of cell membranes interact with downstream biochemical signaling pathways. We also develop quantitative techniques and theoretical models to understand the material properties of membranes and biomolecular condensates. We are currently looking for motivated students and postdocs: 1) to study the material properties biomolecular condensates that are relevant to neurodegeneration; 2) to investigate how local mechanical and geometrical cues on the cell membrane affect the behavior of membrane proteins; 3) to understand how interactions with either cytoskeleton or extracellular matrix affect the dynamics of cell membranes. Contact us for more details!


  • Wang H, Kelley FM, Milovanovic D, Schuster BS, Shi Z*. Surface tension and viscosity of protein condensates quantified by micropipette aspiration. Biophysical Reports. 1(1), 100011, 2021.
  • Schuster BS, Regy RM, Dolan EM, Ranganath AK, Jovic N, Khare SD, Shi Z, Jeetain Mittal*. Biomolecular Condensates: Sequence Determinants of Phase Separation, Microstructural Organization, Enzymatic Activity, and Material Properties. J. Phys. Chem. B. 125(14), 3441–3451. 2021.
  • Cohen, AE, Shi Z. Do Cell Membranes Flow Like Honey or Jiggle Like Jello?. BioEssays. 2019.
  • Shi Z, … Cohen AE. Cell membranes resist flow. Cell. 175(7), 1769-1779. 2018
  • Graber ZT, Shi Z, Baumgart T. Cations induce shape remodeling of negatively charged phospholipid membranes. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 19(23), 15285-15295. 2017.
  • Luo Q, Shi Z, … Chenoweth DM, Park SJ. DNA Island Formation on Binary. Block Copolymer Vesicles. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138(32), 1015710162. 2016.
  • Chen Z, Shi Z, Baumgart T. Regulation of Membrane-Shape Transitions Induced by I-BAR Domains. Biophysical Journal. 109(2), 298-307. 2015.
  • Shi Z, ... Baumgart T. Biophysics of α-synuclein induced membrane remodelling. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 17(24), 15561-15568. 2015
  • Shi Z, Baumgart T. Membrane tension and peripheral protein density mediate membrane shape transitions. Nature Communications. 6, 5974. 2015.
  • Wu T, Shi Z, Baumgart T. Mutations in BIN1 associated with Central Nuclear Myopathy disrupt membrane remodeling by affecting protein density and oligomerization. PLoS ONE. 9(4), e93060. 2014.
  • Shi Z, Baumgart T. Dynamics and instabilities of lipid bilayer membrane shapes. Adv. Colloid Interface Sci. 208,76-88. 2014.
  • Cavallaro M, Gharbi MA, Beller DA, Copar S, Shi Z, ... Stebe KJ. Exploiting imperfections in the bulk to direct assembly of surface colloids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110(47), 18804-18808. 2013.
  • Cavallaro M, Gharbi MA, Beller DA, Copar S, Shi Z, … Baumgart T, Stebe KJ. Ring around the colloid. Soft Matter. 9(38), 9099-9102. 2013.
  • Capraro BR*, Shi Z*, … Baumgart T. Kinetics of endophilin N-BAR domain dimerization and membrane interactions. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 288(18), 12533-12543. 2013.

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