Assistant Professor


Tel: 3400-8897

Office: ST406

ORCID: 0000-0003-1411-1265

Research Interests

Mechanobiology; Mechano-oncology; Tumour Metastasis; Cell Mechanics; Cancer Stem Cell.


Dr. Tan joined the Interdisciplinary Division of Biomedical Engineering at PolyU as Assistant Professor in 2015, before which he completed his postdoctoral fellowship in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Selected Publications

(*contributed equally; #: corresponding author):

  1. Tan, Y.*, Wood, AR.*, Jia, Q.*, Zhou, W., Luo, J., Yang, F., Chen, J., Chen, J., Sun, J., Seong, J., Tajik, A., Singh, R., Wang, N. (2017) Soft matrices downregulate FAK activity to promote growth of tumor-repopulating cells, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 483, 456.
  2. Tan, Y.*, Tajik, A.*, Chen, J.*, Jia, Q., Chowdhury, F., Wang, L., Chen, J., Zhang, S., Hong, Y., Yi, H., Wu, D.C., Zhang, Y., Wei, F., Poh, Y-C., Seong, J., Singh, R., Lin, L-J., Doğanay, S., Li, Y., Jia, H., Ha, T., Wang, Y., Huang, B., Wang, N. (2014). Matrix softness regulates plasticity of tumor-repopulating cells via H3K9 demethylation and Sox2 expression, Nature Communications 5, 4619.
  3. Poh, Y-C., Chen, J., Hong, Y., Yi, H., Zhang, S., Chen, J., Wu, D.C., Wang, L., Jia, Q., Singh, R., Yao, W., Tan, Y., Tajik, A., Tanaka, T., Wang, N., (2014). Generation of organized germ layers from a single mouse embryonic stem cell. Nature Communications 5, 4000.
  4. Tan, Y.*, Liu, J.*, Zhang, H., Zhang, Y., Xu, P., Chen, J., Poh, Y-C., Wang, N., Huang, B. (2012). Soft fibrin gels promote selection and growth of tumorigenic cells. Nature Materials 11, 734-741.
  5. Tan, Y., Kong, C-W., Chen, S., Cheng, S.H., Li, R.A., Sun, D. (2012). Probing the mechanobiological properties of human embryonic stem cells in cardiac differentiation by optical tweezers. Journal of Biomechanics 45, 123-128.
  6. Tan, Y., Fung, T-K., Wan, H., Wang, K., Leung, A.Y.H., Sun, D. (2011). Biophysical characterization of hematopoietic cells from normal and leukemic sources with distinct primitiveness. Applied Physics Letters 99, 083702.
  7. Tan, Y., Sun, D., Wang, J., Huang, W. (2010). Mechanical Characterization of Human Red Blood Cells under Different Osmotic Conditions by Robotic Manipulation with Optical Tweezers. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering 57, 1816-1825.
  8. Tan, Y. #, Sun, D., Huang, W. (2010). Mechanical Modeling of Red Blood Cells during Optical Stretching. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering-Transactions of the ASME 132, 044504.
  9. Tan, Y. #, Sun, D., Huang, W., Cheng, S.H. (2008). Mechanical Modeling of Biological Cells in Microinjection. IEEE Transactions on NanoBioScience 7, 257-266.

Funding (as PI/Co-PI)

  1. Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission Basic Research 2017: Mechanical regulation of cancer stem cells and tumor progression and metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma, 01/09/2017-31/08/2020, RMB 2,000,000, PI.
  2. Project of Strategic Importance, PolyU Internal Grant, 2017: Biomechanical and Multiomics Characterization of Ocular Tissues during Myopic Development, 02/05/2017-01/05/2020, HK$ 4,074,000, Co-PI.
  3. Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission Basic Research–Exploration 2017: Regulation of metastatic potential of cancer stem cells in hepatocellular carcinoma by cell mechanics, 01/06/2017-31/05/2019, RMB 400,000, PI.
  4. National Natural Science Foundation of China General Program (NSFC) 2016: Low cell stiffness regulates high tumorigenic and metastatic potential of hepatocellular carcinoma tumor-repopulating cells, 01/01/2017-31/12/2020, RMB 600,000, PI.
  5. Research Grant Council Early Career Scheme (RGC ECS) 2016: Cell mechanics regulate tumorigenic potential of soft cancer stem-like cells in hepatocellular carcinoma, 01/01/2018-31/12/2020, HK$ 750,000, PI.
  6. Dean’s Reserve for Intra-Faculty Collaboration Research, PolyU Internal Grant, 2016: Mechanical Regulation of Cancer Metastatic Potential and Tropism, 01/08/2016-31/01/2018, HK$ 400,000, PI.

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