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Shashank ShekharAssistant Professor

Awards and Honors

  • Whitman Early Career Award (Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, 2019 & 2017).
  • Provost Innovator Inquiry Award and research grant (Brandeis University, 2018).
  • HHMI Interfaces Scholar Award (Brandeis University, 2018).
  • “Grand advances in Biology” Prize (French Academy of Sciences, 2016).
  • Thomas B. Grave, Elizabeth F. Grave Scholarship and Arthur Klorfein fellowship (Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, 2014).
  • Marie Curie fellowship (European Commission, 2007).
  • Erasmus Mundus Fellowship (European Commission, 2005)


Ph.D., University of Twente (The Netherlands), 2012


  1. Shekhar S., Chung J., Kondev J., Gelles J. and Goode B. L. Synergy between Cyclase-associated protein and Cofilin accelerates actin filament depolymerization by two orders of magnitude. Nature Communications (2019).
  2. Shekhar S. and Carlier M-F. Enhanced Depolymerization of Actin Filaments by ADF/Cofilin and Monomer Funneling by Capping Protein Cooperate to Accelerate Barbed-End Growth. Current Biology (2017).
  3. Carlier M-F. and Shekhar S. Global treadmilling coordinates actin turnover and controls the size of actin networks. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology (2017).
  4. Pernier J.*, Shekhar S*., Jegou A, Guichard B., Carlier M-F. Profilin interaction with actin filament barbed end controls dynamic instability, capping, branching and motility. Developmental Cell (2016).
  5. Shekhar S., Kerleau M, Kuhn S., Pernier J., Romet-Lemonne G., Jegou A., Carlier M.-F. Formin and Capping Protein together embrace the actin filament in a “ménage à trois”. Nature Communications (2015).


Research Area

Molecular and Organismal Biophysics – Actin dynamics, Microfluidics, Phagocytosis, Intracellular manipulation and Collective behavior.

Research Interests

Dynamic remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton is essential in key cellular processes such as cell migration, cell division and cell morphogenesis. The goal of my lab is to understand how emergent cellular actin dynamics arises from complex interplay between numerous actin regulatory proteins and mechanical forces. Biological research over the last two decades has uncovered many proteins involved in cellular actin dynamics. However, we do not yet understand how these factors function together in complex multicomponent molecular assemblies to produce emergent intracellular actin dynamics.

Further, actin filaments not only generate forces, but their dynamics are in turn affected by external mechanical forces such as those arising from membrane tension and the extracellular matrix. Using single filament and single molecule force spectroscopy, we are investigating how the actin cytoskeleton senses and responds to mechanical cues at the molecular scale. My lab takes an integrated multi-disciplinary approach combining biophysical experiments with mathematical modelling to tackle these questions.