Soichiro Yamada

Associate Professor

(530) 754-7251

2317 GBSF

Yamada Lab Website


Postdoctoral training in Cell Biology, Stanford University
Ph. D. Chemical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
B.S. Chemical Engineering, Rutgers University


Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group
Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Group


Our laboratory is interested in how cells interact with each other during tissue morphogenesis and remodeling. Cell-cell interactions are mediated by cell-cell adhesion and cytoskeletal proteins that coordinate cell movement during gastrulation or epithelial tube formation. Aberrant loss of cell-cell adhesion leads to unrestricted cell movement that allows invasion into other tissues, a key step in progression of metastatic cancer. While cells in isolation have been extensively studied, their multi-cellular behavior still remains ambiguous. This is primarily due to the complexity of molecular interactions, signaling and cytoskeletal reorganization that results from cell-cell adhesion. Our focus is to understand molecular mechanisms of cell-cell adhesion and cytoskeletal organization that dictate the coordinate behavior of cells in tissues and organs.


Yamada Lab Website


Yamada S and Nelson WJ. (2007) Localized zones of Rho and Rac activities drive initiation and expansion of epithelial cell-cell adhesion. J Cell Biol. 178:517.

Yamada S and Nelson WJ. (2007) Synapses: Sites of cell recognition, adhesion, and functional specification. Annu Rev Biochem. 76:267.

Reilein A, Yamada S, Nelson WJ. (2005) Self-organization of an acentrosomal microtubule network at the basal cortex of polarized epithelial cells. J Cell Biol. 171:845.

Drees F, Pokutta S, Yamada S, Nelson WJ, Weis WI. (2005) alpha-catenin is a molecular switch that binds E-cadherin/beta-catenin and regulates actin filament assembly. Cell 123:903.

Yamada S, Pokutta S, Drees F, Weis WI, Nelson WJ. (2005) Deconstructing the cadherin-catenin-actin complex. Cell 123:889.

Nelson WJ, Drees F, Yamada S. (2005) Interaction of cadherin with the actin cytoskeleton. Novartis Found Symp. 269:159.

Yamada S, Kuo SC. (2003) The inside story of Brownian motion: Revealing intracellular mechanics. Biophysics 43:180.

Yamada S, Wirtz D, Coulombe PA. (2003) The mechanical properties of simple epithelial keratins 8 and 18: discriminating between interfacial and bulk elasticities. J Struct Biol. 143:45-55.

Yamada S, Wirtz D, Coulombe PA. (2002) Pairwise assembly determines the intrinsic potential for self-organization and mechanical properties of keratin filaments. Mol Biol Cell. 13:382-91.

Coulombe PA, Ma L, Yamada S, Wawersik M. (2001) Intermediate filaments at a glance. J Cell Sci. 114:4345-7.

Bousquet O, Ma L, Yamada S, Gu C, Idei T, Takahashi K, Wirtz D, Coulombe PA. (2001) The nonhelical tail domain of keratin 14 promotes filament bundling and enhances the mechanical properties of keratin intermediate filaments in vitro. J Cell Biol. 155:747-54.

Ma L, Yamada S, Wirtz D, Coulombe PA. (2001) A ‘hot-spot’ mutation alters the mechanical properties of keratin filament networks. Nat Cell Biol. 3:503-6.

Coulombe PA, Bousquet O, Ma L, Yamada S, Wirtz D. (2000) The ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of intermediate filament organization. Trends Cell Biol. 10:420-8.

Yamada S, Wirtz D, Kuo SC. (2000) Mechanics of living cells measured by laser tracking microrheology. Biophys J. 78:1736-47.


Cell-cell adhesion, cytoskeletal mechanics, tissue morphogenesis and cell motility in three-dimensional culture, high-resolution fluorescence microscopy, artificial cell membrane.