Abnormal nuclear mechanics and morphology is a hallmark of human disease. In the Stephens lab, we aim to understand the mechanical basis of abnormal nuclear morphology and what effects it has on nuclear and cellular functions.

Micromanipulation force measures provide the separation of the two major mechanical components of the nucleus, chromatin dominating short extensions and lamin A dictating long extensions via strain stiffening.
Chromatin-based nuclear mechanics can independently determine nuclear morphological stability. Abnormal nuclear morphology is a hallmark of human disease. Abnormal deformations termed "blebs" are noted in the images.
Abnormal nuclear morphology is highly associated with nuclear ruptures, as shown above. Loss of nucleus compartmentalization is known to cause DNA damage, altered transcription, and loss of cell cycle control. It is possible that disruption of nuclear shape and stability contributes to human diseases.