Anand Asthagiri

Associate Professor,  Bioengineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Chemical Engineering


Social Media


  • 617.373.2996

Research Focus

cell and tissue engineering, quantitative principles of cancer cell biology and developmental biology


The Asthagiri lab elucidates design principles for engineering living cells and tissues. These design principles provide a foundation for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The implications extend beyond engineering artificial organ replacements. Synthetic multicellular structures that mimic their natural counterparts provide better platforms for drug discovery and screening. In addition, elucidating how multicellular structures assemble provides deeper insights into how these structures fall apart in diseases, such as cancer. Understanding the disassembly of multicellular structures sheds new insights into cancer development and helps to identify therapeutic strategies to re-shape diseased tissue.


  • B.S. with distinction (Chemical Engineering) Cornell University, 1995
  • Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
  • Postdoctoral Fellow Harvard Medical School, 2000-2001

Research Overview

cell and tissue engineering, quantitative principles of cancer cell biology and developmental biology

Asthagiri Cell Engineering Laboratory

We investigate how changes in molecular pathways within cancer cells and alterations outside the cell in the surrounding microenvironment work together to transform normal cells into invasive cancer cells. We seek to identify robust therapeutic strategies to target cancer cells whose heterogeneity and plasticity make them a “moving target”. Because the properties of cancer cells are non-uniform and closely coupled to their microenvironmental context, we image and analyze single-cell behaviors in microscale environments.

Asthagiri Cell Engineering Laboratory

Selected Publications

  • Luo, Catherine Y., Natividad, Robert J., Lalli, Mark L., Asthagiri, Anand R. (2020). Multivariate relationships among nucleus and Golgi properties during fibrillar migration are robust to and unchanged by epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. PLoS ONE, 15(9),e0239188. 10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0239188
  • Natividad, R., Lalli, M., Muthuswamy, S., & Asthagiri, A. (2018). Golgi Stabilization, Not Its Front-Rear Bias, Is Associated with EMT-Enhanced Fibrillar Migration. Biophysical Journal, 115(10), 2067-2077.
  • Lalli, M.L., Wojeski, B., Asthagiri, A.R. (2017). Label-Free Automated Cell Tracking: Analysis of the Role of E-cadherin Expression in Collective Electrotaxis. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 10(1), 89-101.
  • D.F. Milano, R.J. Natividad, Y. Saito, C.Y. Luo, S.K. Muthuswamy, A.R. Asthagiri, Positive Quantitative Relationship Between EMT and Contact-Initiated Sliding on Fiber-Like Tracks, Biophysical Journal, 111(7), 2016, 1569-1574
  • D.F. Milano, N.A. Ngai, S.K. Muthuswamy, A.R. Asthagiri Regulators of Metastasis Modulate the Migratory Response to Cell Contact Under Spatial Confinement, Biophysical Journal, 110(8), 2016, 1886-1895
  • D.I. Walsh III, M.L. Lalli, J.M. Kassas, A.R. Asthagiri, S.K. Murthy, Cell Chemotaxis on Paper for Diagnostics, Analytical Chemistry, 87(11), 2015, 5505-5510
  • M.L. Lalli, A.R. Asthagiri, Collective Migration Exhibits Greater Sensitivity but Slower Dynamics of Alignment to Applied Electric Fields, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 8(2), 2015, 247-257
  • K. Blogovic, E.S. Gong, D.F. Milano, R.J. Natividad, A.R. Asthagiri, Engineering Cell-Cell Signaling, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 24(5), 2013, 940-947
  • K. Kushiro, A.R. Asthagiri, Modular Design of Micropattern Geometry Achieves Combinatorial Enhancements in Cell Motility, Langmuir, 28(9), 2012, 4357-4362
  • J.H. Kim, A.R. Asthagiri, Matrix Stiffening Sensitizes Epithelial Cells to EGF and Enables the Loss of Contact Inhibition of Proliferation, Journal of Cell Science, 124, 2011, 1280-1287
  • J.H. Kim, L.J. Dooling, A.R. Asthagiri, Intercellular Mechanotransduction During Multicellular Morphodynamics, Royal Society Interface, 7(3), 2010, 341-350
  • C.A. Giurumescu, P.W. Sternberg, A.R. Asthagiri Predicting Phenotypic Diversity and the Underlying Quantitative Molecular Transitions, PLoS Computational Biology, 5(4), 2009, 1-13


May 08, 2024

2024 URF Scholars Recipients

Thirty-six engineering students received 2024 URF Scholars Awards from Northeastern’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. URF Scholars are students who are graduating this year and who have earned a PEAK Experience Award, applied for a distinguished fellowship, or participated in graduate school advising.


Feb 04, 2022

Announcing Spring 2022 PEAK Experiences Awardees

Several engineering students and science students mentored by COE faculty are recipients of Northeastern’s Spring 2022 PEAK Experiences Awards.

Jan 27, 2020

Spring 2020 PEAK Experiences Awardees

Congratulations to the COE student recipients of the Spring 2020 PEAK Experiences Awards. The PEAK Experiences Awards are a progressively structured sequence of opportunities designed to support learners as they continue climbing to new heights of achievement in undergraduate research and creative endeavor throughout their Northeastern journeys. BASE CAMP AWARDS Developing HPLC Methods for Characterizing […]

Apr 28, 2016

Asthagiri is Exploring the Spread of Cancer Cells

BioE Associate Professor Anand Asthagiri explores the biophysics behind the spread of breast cancer, providing hope for future treatments and early diagnosis. Source: News @ Northeastern Metas­tasis. The very word evokes fear. Defined as the spread of cancer cells from one part of the body to another, metas­tasis is the cause of approx­i­mately 90 per­cent […]


Feb 17, 2016

ChE PhD Student Mark Lalli Wins 2015 Graduate Seminar Award

Mark Lalli was honored with the 2015 Graduate Seminar Award. Lalli is a 4th year PhD student in Chemical Engineering under guidance of Anand Asthagiri. The winning seminar was titled "Impact of E-cadherin expression on highly confined electrotaxis." The Graduate Seminar Award gives $1500 to a recipient for traveling to a conference of their choice […]


May 26, 2015

Paperfluidic Diagnostics

Bioengineering PhD student David Walsh's research on "Cell Chemotaxis on Paper for Diagnostics" was recently published in Analytical Chemistry.


May 11, 2015

Recent ChE Grad Reflects Back on NU Experiences

Recent ChE Alumni Alexander Colville reflects back on his NU career where he helped create the Bioengineering department and Biomedical Engineering Society, participated in an exchange program, and most importantly learned to apply his classroom problem solving skills to real world scenarios.


Apr 04, 2012

FY13 TIER 1 Award Recipients

27 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY13 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 21 different research projects.

Apr 04, 2012

Calculating Cell Interaction

ChE Associate Professor Anand Asthagiri was featured in the Biophysical Journal for his work in determining the effect of growth factors on cell-cell adhesion.

Mar 14, 2012

Guiding Cell Movement

ChE Associate Professor Anand Asthagiri is developing "traffic patterns" to enhance the directionality and speed of a cell’s movement in the body to promote faster healing.

View All Related News