I obtained my Ph.D. in Biophysics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then did a postdoctoral fellowship in Single Molecule Biophysics at Stanford University/UC Berkeley. In 2008, I started my independent laboratory in the Physics Department at Iowa State University. In September 2018,  my group moved to the Biomedical Engineering Department at UC Davis.

My group has made several key contributions to characterizing the molecular mechanisms by which cell adhesion proteins sense and respond to mechanical force. My group is also inventing several new bioengineering technologies including a microscope for ultrasensitive-measurement of single-molecule interaction and conformation and new super-resolution fluorescence microscopies. My laboratory has also recently resolved the biophysical determinants for protein misfolding and aggregation in certain neurodegenerative diseases.

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