Skip to main content

Shane Hutson

A.B. Learned Professor of Living State Physics
Professor of Physics and of Biological Sciences
Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Vanderbilt University

Dr. M. Shane Hutson is a Professor of Physics and serves as Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. He has a secondary appointment in Biological Sciences, and is Deputy Director of VIIBRE (Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystem Research & Education). His research has been supported by the NIH, EPA, NSF, Department of Defense, and Human Frontier Science Program. Dr. Hutson also has a deep commitment to undergraduate teaching: he led efforts to develop Vanderbilt’s sequence on Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences (PHYS 1501-1502); he was awarded the College of Arts & Science Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching; and he regularly presents for CfT and CIRTL workshops on effective, evidence-based teaching practices (watch one on YouTube). In addition to his duties as department chair, Dr. Hutson serves as Chair of the University Laser Safety Committee. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2003.

Research Interests

My research interests are in biological physics — specifically in how biological systems can be probed and manipulated by light (biophotonics), in how cellular forces drive tissue morphogenesis (mechanobiology), and in how embryonic development is disturbed by environmental exposures (systems biology of developmental toxicology).

Current projects in the lab include:

  • Investigating the mechanisms by which cells detect nearby wounds, trigger calcium signals, and respond appropriately to close those wounds,
  • using modeling and laser-microsurgery to probe the inter- and intra-cellular forces that drive morphogenesis, and
  • using computational models and organs-on-a-chip technologies to investigate the mechanisms of developmental toxicity.