Sanjeevi Sivasankar

Associate Professor
Biological Systems

A319 Zaffarano Hall
sivasank [at]



  1. 2014-present: Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University
  2. 2008-2014: Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University



  1. 2001-2008: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Physics, Stanford University
  2. 1995-2001: Ph.D., Biophysics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  3. 1990-1995: B.Sc., M.Sc., Biophysics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India


Legend: +Corresponding author, *equal contribution

  1. Manibog, K., Sankar, K., Kim, S.-A., Zhang, Y., Jernigan, R.L., Sivasankar, S.+, (2016) Molecular determinants of cadherin ideal bond formation: Conformation-dependent unbinding on a multidimensional landscape , Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 113, E5711-E5720.
  2. C. - F. Yen, Harischandra, D. S., Kanthasamy, A., and Sivasankar, S.+, (2016) “Copper-induced structural conversion templates prion protein oligomerization and neurotoxicity”, Science Advances, vol. 2, no. 7, p. e1600014.
  3. Manibog, K., Li, H., Rakshit, S., Sivasankar, S.+, (2014) Resolving the molecular mechanisim of cadherin catch bond formation, Nature Communications, 5, Article number: 3941.
  4. Lowndes, M., Rakshit, S., Shafraz, O., Borghi, N., Harmond, R., Green, K., Sivasankar, S., Nelson, W.J., (2014) Distinguishing roles of different cadherins in the assembly and structural integrity of the desmosome complex, J. Cell Sci., 127, 2339-2350.
  5. Rakshit, S., Sivasankar., S.+, (2014) Biomechanics of cell adhesion: How force regulates the lifetime of adhesive bonds at the single molecule level, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 16, 2211-2223.
  6. Sivasankar, S.+, (2013) Tuning the kinetics of cadherin adhesion, J Invest. Dermatol., 133, 2318-2323.
  7. Rakshit, S., Zhang, Y.X., Manibog, K., Shafraz, O., Sivasankar., S.+, (2012) Ideal, catch and slip bonds in cadherin adhesion, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 109, 18815-18820.
  8. Li, H.*, Yen, C.F.*, Sivasankar, S.+, (2012) Fluorescence Axial Localization with Nanometer Accuracy and Precision, Nano Lett., 12, 3731-3735.
  9. Leckband, D., Sivasankar, S., (2012) Cadherin recognition and adhesion, Curr. Opin. Cell Biol., 24, 1-8.
  10. Leckband, D., Sivasankar, S., (2012) Biophysics of cadherin adhesion, Springer: Sub-cellular Biochemistry, Volume: 60, Pages: 63-88.
  11. Choi, C.L., Li, H., Olson, A.C.K., Jain, P.K., Sivasankar, S.+, Alivisatos, A.P.+, (2011) Spatially indirect emission in a luminescent nanocrystal molecule, Nano Lett., 11, 2358-2362.
  12. Li, H., Fowler, N., Struck, C., Sivasankar., S.+, (2011) Flow triggered by instabilities at the contact-line of a drop containing nanoparticles, Soft Matter, 7, 5116-5119.
  13. Rakshit, S., and Sivasankar, S.+, (2011) Cross-linking of a charged polysaccharide using polyions as electrostatic staples, Soft Matter, 7, 2348-2351.
  14. Choi, C.L., Koski, K.J., Sivasankar, S., Alivisatos, A.P., (2009) Strain-Dependent Photoluminescence Behavior of CdSe/CdS Nanocrystals with Spherical, Linear, and Branched Topologies, Nano Lett., 9, 3544-3549.
  15. Sivasankar, S.*+, Zhang, Y.*, Nelson,W.J., and Chu, S.+, (2009) Characterizing the initial encounter complex in cadherin adhesion, Structure, 17, 1-7 (Selected for an editor’s choice preview: Structure, (2009) 1035-1036).
  16. Sivasankar, S.+ and Chu, S., (2009) Nanoparticle mediated non-fluorescent bonding of microspheres to atomic force microscope cantilevers and imaging fluorescence from bonded cantilevers with single molecule sensitivity, Nano Lett., 9, 2120-2124.
  17. Zhang, Y.*, Sivasankar, S.*+, Nelson,W.J., and Chu, S.+, (2009) Resolving cadherin interactions and binding cooperativity at the single molecule level, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 106, 109-114.
  18. Sivasankar, S., and Chu, S., (2007) Optical bonding using silica nanoparticle sol-gel chemistry, Nano Lett., 7, 3031-3034.
  19. Sivasankar, S., Gumbiner, B., and Leckband, D., (2001) Direct measurements of multiple adhesive alignments and unbinding trajectories between cadherin extracellular domains, Biophys. J., 80, 1758-1768.
  20. Leckband, D., and Sivasankar, S., (2000) Mechanism of homophilic cadherin adhesion, Curr. Opin. Cell Biol., 12, 587-592.
  21. Leckband, D., and Sivasankar, S., (1999) Forces controlling protein interactions: theory and experiment, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces,  14, 83-97.
  22. Sivasankar, S., Brieher, W., Lavrik, N., Gumbiner, B., and Leckband, D., (1999) Direct molecular force measurements of multiple adhesive interactions between cadherin ectodomains, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 96, 11820-11824.
  23. Sivasankar, S., Subramaniam, S., and Leckband, D., (1998) Direct molecular level measurements of the electrostatic properties of a protein surface, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 95, 12961-12966



  1. Sivasankar, S., and Chu, S., Methods of bonding optical structures, bonding and silylation of optical structures, bonded optical structures, and silylated bonded optical structures, United States Patent 8,123,898.
  2. Choi, C.L., Koski, K.J., Sivasankar, S., Alivisatos, A.P., Systems and Methods of Detecting Force and Stress Using Tetrapod Nanocrystal, United States Patent 8,513,624.
  3. Sivasankar, S., and Li, H., System, apparatus, and method for simultaneous single molecule Atomic Force Microscopy and fluorescence measurements, United States Patent 8,656,510.
  4. Sivasankar, S., Li, H., and Yen, C.F., Fluorescence axial localization with nanometer accuracy and precision,  United States Patent 9,103,784.