My research interests focus on understanding how microenvironment factors control cell fate, particularly the complexity of cell-matrix and soluble-factor effects. My graduate training on the mechano-chemical control of human mesenchymal stem cells combined biophysical techniques with systems-biology approaches developed in the group, which resulted in comprehensive elaborations on the biophysical role of nuclear lamin-A in regulating cell fate (Swift*, Dingal et al. Science 2013, Dingal et al. Nat Mater 2015). My academic training has enabled me to harness principles from physics and chemistry to deepen our understanding of the nature of active biopolymers (e.g. lamins, myosins), and of the barriers involved in treating cancer using drugs and/or immunotherapeutics (e.g. CD47-SIRPα signaling). Given my engineering background, my postdoctoral interests lie in developing synthetic biological tools to measure signals that induce cell fate. I have recently developed a versatile molecular tool that senses the immediate microenvironment and activate novel genomic expression programs via CRISPR-Cas9 (Kipniss*, Dingal* et al. Nat Comm 2017). In the Schier lab, I am further developing molecular tools that measure the secretion and sensing of signals in vivo as they arise in the early zebrafish embryo and in the developing brain.