Affiliate Membership

Affiliate Membership will be automatically conferred on faculty who have had a previous funded Principal Investigator (PI) relationship with the Center for Engineering MechanoBiology and also to former CEMB trainees who have established independent laboratories in mechanobiology. Additionally, Affiliate membership is available to active collaborators of current CEMB PIs as long as the collaborating laboratory is at a CEMB institution.

Benefits of Affiliate Membership

  • Access to the Faculty and Trainee Research Exchange Program
  • Access to the trainee-initiated $10K cross-disciplinary pilot grant program
  • Ability to propose seed research projects (if located within a CEMB member institution)
  • Participation in all CEMB research thrusts, journal clubs, and seminars
  • Eligibility for affiliate lab trainees to apply to CEMB boot camps
  • Participation in the CEMB annual retreat

Collaborators of current CEMB PIs interested in Affiliate Membership and working on research directly relevant to the CEMB mission should apply to the CEMB Director. Applicants should provide 1) a one-paragraph description of their relevant research and 2) a short nomination letter from the collaborating CEMB PI. An abbreviated annual report is required of Affiliates who have received financial support from one or more of the programs above.

How to Apply to Become an Affiliate

CEMB is a growing network of mechanobiology researchers and educators. Affiliate members are invited to attend CEMB events, participate in seminar series, and apply for internal funding. To become an affiliate faculty of the Center, please contact

Postdoctoral Training

CEMB supports and trains postdoctoral fellows, who have full access to the breadth of CEMB resources. CEMB post-doctoral fellows are encouraged to audit courses to broaden their scientific knowledge (i.e. in the biological sciences for physical scientists and engineers, and vice versa) and to participate in CEMB’s core course, “Principles of Mechanobiology.” CEMB post-doctoral fellows gain teaching and mentoring experience, including employment as teaching fellows in Boot Camp I and supervisory roles for REU students. CEMB Post-doctoral fellows have access to CEMB’s innovation training and knowledge transfers, and to opportunities for short “sabbaticals” in other CEMB labs to new techniques and approaches.

If you are interested in pursuing a postdoc with the CEMB, contact the faculty of interest directly, and consider applying for an institutional postdoctoral fellowship:

Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity

The Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity is a competitive program with a goal of increasing the diversity of the community of scholars devoted to academic research at both the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

PennPORT Program

The NIH sponsored (IRACDA) PennPORT program combines a traditional mentored postdoctoral research experience at the University of Pennsylvania with a mentored teaching experience at a partnering institution. The Program is designed to provide an opportunity for postdoctoral appointees to develop their teaching skills. Postdocs will also be able to take advantage of the many research and career success skills training programs provided by Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP).

President’s & Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (CPFP) offers postdoctoral research fellowships and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at the University of California.

The program seeks applicants who have the potential to bring to their academic and research careers critical perspectives that based on their educational background or their understanding of the experiences of members of groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education in the United States.


The UPLIFT Program at UCLA supports postdoctoral scholars in the biological sciences who have a demonstrated interest in teaching, research, mentoring, and supporting diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. UPLIFT combines a traditional mentored postdoctoral research experience with an opportunity to develop academic skills, including teaching, with pedagogical training provided through CEILS workshops and CIRTL courses, as well as faculty mentored teaching assignments at our partner institution, California State University Los Angeles (CSULA).  The program is sponsored through Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA), supported by the division of NIGMS at NIH.

Graduate Education and Training

CEMB trains across disciplines. Incoming engineers and physicists expand their knowledge base in organismal, cellular, and molecular biology and develop a practical understanding of the nature of biological research.  Similarly, incoming biologists grow in their understanding of mechanics and quantitative methods.  Together, these trainees communicate and collaborate in innovative and meaningful ways in the center’s integrative research projects.

CEMB seeks graduate students from across the scientific and engineering disciplines, and from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.  Special opportunities are available at all sites for students from backgrounds that have typically been under-represented in the sciences, including the specialized mentoring that CEMB provides to ensure the success of all its trainees.

How to Apply

CEMB graduate fellows are admitted through standard graduate group/graduate program channels. Prospective fellows should contact individual CEMB faculty members and the associate individual graduate programs as they prepare their applications. CEMB-associated graduate programs and associated CEMB faculty fellows are the following:

CEMB faculty fellows: Cheng

Biomedical Engineering
CEMB faculty fellows: Chen

Bioengineering (BE)
CEMB faculty fellows: Assoian, Boerckel, Burdick, Discher, Goldman, Huh, Janmey, Mauck, Shenoy, Wells

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (BMB)
CEMB faculty fellows: Burdick, Janmey, Lakadamyali, Shenoy

Cell & Molecular Biology (CAMB)
CEMB faculty fellows: Assoian, Boerckel, Goldman, Janmey, Lakadamyali, Ostap, Prosser, Wells

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE)
CEMB faculty fellows: Discher, Osuji

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)
CEMB faculty fellows: Burdick, Shenoy

Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM)
CEMB faculty fellows: Goldman, Mauck, Shenoy

Pharmacology (PGG)
CEMB faculty fellows: Assoian, Discher, Wells

CEMB faculty fellows: Nelson

Molecular Biology Institute
CEMB faculty fellows: Braybrook

CEMB faculty fellows: Braybrook

Computational and Molecular Biophysics
CEMB faculty fellows: Genin, Dixit

Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology Program
CEMB faculty fellows: Genin

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
CEMB faculty fellows: Foston

Institute of Materials Science & Engineering
CEMB faculty fellows: Foston, Genin

Interdisciplinary Training in Mechanobiology
CEMB faculty fellows: Dixit, Genin, Haswell

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
CEMB faculty fellows: Genin

Molecular Cell Biology
CEMB faculty fellows: Dixit, Haswell

Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis
CEMB faculty fellows: Haswell

Plant and Microbial Biology
CEMB faculty fellows: Dixit, Genin, Haswell

CEMB faculty fellows: Carlsson

For more information, please contact the CEMB education director at your institution:

Alabama State University: Derrick Dean

Boston University: Chris Chen

Bryn Mawr College: Xuemei Cheng

New Jersey Institute of Technology: Treena Arinzeh

University of Pennsylvania: Rebecca Wells

University of California, Los Angeles: Siobhan Braybrook

Washington University in St. Louis: Ram Dixit

Organization and Curriculum

Students generally become CEMB graduate fellows after their first year in a PhD program, although they may become affiliated with CEMB as soon as they commit to a CEMB lab. Graduate fellows must meet the standard curricula of their graduate programs, with the following addenda:

  • CEMB graduate fellows have two advisors. Although they are typically affiliated with one primary research group, a second advisor from a different discipline works closely with the CEMB graduate fellow to provide broad expertise in integrated mechanobiology; to assist with developing a broad, individualized program of study; and to provide cross-disciplinary career mentoring.
  • CEMB graduate fellows have access to many of the course offerings at other CEMB sites, and receive home institution credit for these courses.
  • CEMB graduate fellows participate in CEMB’s intensive “Boot Camp I” experience in the summer of their entry into the program, generally between years 1 and 2 of graduate school. Boot Camp I, usually held at Penn for all participants, includes lectures in cell biology, bioengineering, matrix biology, and plant biology and mechanics; wet and dry lab experiences in rheometry, basic cell and molecular biology techniques, basics plant biology techniques, and computational modeling; small group tutorials; journal clubs; and ethics and knowledge transfer training. Boot Camp I includes a mini-research experience and presentation at the conclusion of the course.
  • CEMB graduate fellows take the CEMB core course, “Principles of Mechanobiology” in the fall of the second or third year of graduate school. This course covers key fundamentals of engineering and plant and animal biology and mechanobiology, and is taught by CEMB faculty fellows across the center, with remote access provided for all students.
  • CEMB graduate fellows receive training in translation, innovation, and commercialization through links with centers including the Penn Center for Innovation and the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurship at Washington University, and though CEMB’s Innovation Slams.
  • Advanced CEMB graduate fellows learn new techniques and approaches by participating in Boot Camp II experiences and in mini-sabbaticals in other center labs (generally away from the student’s home institution).
  • Advanced CEMB graduate fellows also have the option of industry internships, where they spend several months working with industry partners.