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Steven An, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E6646
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Molecular Biophysics and Cellular Mechanics Lab of Dr. An:

SciVal Experts Research Profile


PhD, Brown University, 2000


My current work comprises both basic and translational research focusing on the cellular and molecular basis for obstructive lung diseases and exploring new intervention strategies. Molecular targets include: 1) HSP20; 2) Nrf2 pathways; and 3) novel G-protein coupled receptor expression, signaling and function in the lung.  

My lab has the unique capability to measure, at the single cell level, changes in stiffness using Magnetic Twisting Cytometry (MTC), contractile force using Fourier Transform Traction Microscopy (FTTM), and discrete molecular-level remodeling dynamics of the living cytoskeleton using Spontaneous Nanoscale Tracer Motions (SNTM). These state-of-art nanotechnologies are readily applicable to a wide variety of cell types and, in combination of multiple genetic, chemical and mechanical manipulations, have broad research applications that are at the interface of cell biology, physics and medicine.

Honors and Awards

2006 - Ann Woolcock Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions and Future Promise in Asthma Research, American Thoracic Society

2007 - Faculty Research Initiative Fund Award, Johns Hopkins University

2010 - American Asthma Foundation (Sandler) Award

2011 - Pilot Grant from Johns Hopkins Engineering in Oncology Center at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology

2011 - Developmental Project Award, the Johns Hopkins University In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC), School of Medicine

2012 - Teaching Excellence, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

2013 - Chairperson, Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences Integrated Review Group, Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel (March 26-27)

2013 - Program Chair-Elect, Respiratory Structure and Function Assembly, American Thoracic Society

2014 - Program Chair, Respiratory Structure and Function Assembly, American Thoracic Society

2015 - Chairperson, Respiratory Integrative Biology and Translational Research (RIBT) Study Section, Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel (March 3-4)

2015 - Ad hoc Member, Lung, Cellular, and Molecular Immunobiology (LCMI) Study Section, Center for Scientific Review (October 6-7)

2015 - Discovery Award, the Johns Hopkins University (An, Bhujwalla, Sukumar)

2015 - Discovery Fund, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Radiation Onocology and Molecular Radiation Sciences (An, Tran, Zachara)

  • Airway Hyperresponsivenss in Asthma Airway Smooth Muscle Cell Mechanics Cytoskeleton Nanotechnologies Cancer Metabolism Aging

Selected publications

  • An SS, Laudadio RE, Lai J, Rogers RA, and Fredberg JJ. (2002) Stiffness changes in cultured airway smooth muscel cell. Am J Physiol 283(3):C793-C801.

    An SS, Fabry B, Trepat X, Wang N, and Fredberg JJ. (2006) Do biophysical properties of the airway smooth muscle in culture predict airway hyperresponsiveness? Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 35:55-64.

    An SS, Bai TR, Bates JH, Black JL, et al. (2007) Airway smooth muscle dynamics: a common pathway of airway obstruction in asthma. Eur Respir J 29(5):834-860.

  • Trepat X, Deng L, An SS, Navajas D, Tschumperlin DJ, Gerthoffer WT, Butler JP, and Fredberg JJ. (2007) Universal physical responses to stretch in the living cell. Nature 447:592-595.

    Bursac P, Fabry B, Trepat X, Lenormand G, Butler JP, Wang N, Fredberg JJ, and An SS. (2007) Cytoskeleton dynamics: fluctuations within the network. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 355(2):324-330.

    Ahn EH, Kim Y, Kshitiz, An SS, Afzal J, Lee S, Kwak M, Suh KY, Kim DH, and Levchenko A. (2014) Spatial control of adult stem cell fate using nanotopographic cues. Biomaterials 35(8):2401-2410.

  • Deshpande DA, Wang WCH, McIlmoyle EL, Robinett KS, Schillinger RM, An SS, Sham JSK, and Liggett SB. (2010) Bitter taste receptors on airway smooth muscle bronchodilate by localized calcium signaling and reverse obstruction. Nature Medicine 16:1299-1304.

    Deshpande DA, Robinett KS, Wang WC, Sham JS, An SS, and Liggett SB. (2011) Reply to: Bronchodilator activity of bitter tastants in human tissues. Nature Medicine 17:716-778.

    An SS, Robinett KS, Deshpande DA, Wang WC, and Liggett SB. (2012) Reply to: Activation of BK channels may not be required for bitter tastant-induced bronchodilation. Nature Medicine 18:648-651.

  • Mattison JA, Wang M, Bernier M, Zhang J, Park SS, Maudsley S, An SS, Santhanam L, Martin B, Faulkner S, Morrell C, Baur JA, Peshkin L, Sosnowska D, Csiszar A, Ungvari Z, Herbert RL, Tilmont EM, Pearson KJ, Lakatta EG, and de Cabo R. (2014) Resveratrol prevents high fat/sucrose diet-induced central arterial wall inflammation and stiffening in nonhuman primates. Cell Metabolism 20:183-190.

    Moon YW, Rao G, Kim J, Shim HS, Park KS, An SS, Kim B, Steeg PS, Sarfaraz S, Lee C, Voeller D, Choi EY, Luo J, Palmieri D, Chung HC, Kim JH, Wang Y, and Giaccone G. (2015) LAMC2 enhances metastatic potential in lung adenocarcinoma. Cell Death & Differentiation 22:1341-1352.

    Aifuwa I, Giri A, Longe N, Lee SH, An SS, and Wirtz D. (2015) Senescent stromal cells induce cancer cell migration via inhibition of RhoA/ROCK/myosin-based cell contractility. Oncotarget 6(31):30516-30531.

  • Garzon-Muvdi T, Schiapparelli P, Ap Rhys CM, Guerrero-Cazares H, Smith C, Kim DH, Kone L, Farber H, An SS, Levchenko A, and Quinones-Hinojosa A. (2012) Regulation of brain tumor dispersal by NKCC1 through a novel role in focal adhesion regulation. PLoS Biology 10(5):e1001320.

    Gajula RP, Chettiar ST, Williams RD, Thiyagarajan S, Kato Y, Aziz K, Wang R, Gandhi N, Wild AT, Vesuna F, Ma J, Salih T, Cades J, Fertig E, Biswal S, Burns TF, Chung CH, Rudin CM, Herman JM, Hales RK, Raman V, An SS, and Tran PT. (2013) The Twist box domain is required for Twist1-induced prostate cancer metastasis. Molecular Cancer Research 11(11):1387-1400.

    Hurley PJ, Hughes RM, Simons BW, Huang J, Miller RM, Shinder B, Haffner MC, Esopi D, Kimura Y, Jabbari J, Ross AE, Erho N, Vergara IA, Faraj SF, Davicioni E, Netto GJ, Yegnasubramanian S, An SS, and Schaeffer EM. (2015) Androgen-regulated SPARCL1 in the tumor microenvironment inhibits metastatic progression. Cancer Research 75(20):4322-4334.


    We are currently looking for talented students and post-doctoral fellows to join our efforts to elucidate the pathogenesis of obstructive lung diseases, central aterial stiffening induced by diet and aging, and metastatic-invasion of cancer (spanning brain, breast, lung, melanoma and prostate).