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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

M. Lisa Manning

Manning portrait

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics


Biophysical Science


229-B Physics Building


Research Interests

  • Defects and deformation in disordered solids and glasses.
  • Surface tension and emergent mechanical properties in developing embryonic tissues.
  • Mitotic waves and pattern formation in biological tissues.
  • Constitutive models for friction and shear banding.

Research Spotlight


Electron microscope images of LP1 cell aggregates (top) and locally minimal energy cellular structures generated by our surface tension model (bottom).

News Articles

A&S Researchers Awarded $2.1M Grant to Study Causes of Congenital Heart Defects

(Dec. 18, 2020)

Researchers look to pinpoint mechanical forces that could be causing defects during the early stages of embryo development.

The Physics Behind Tissue Flow in the Embryo

(June 1, 2020)

A&S team’s research published in PNAS.

M. Lisa Manning Named William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics

(Feb. 24, 2020)

Manning has also been awarded a three-year Simons Foundation grant.

Physics Department Earns Honors

(Oct. 10, 2019)

Faculty Embody Syracuse’s Research Prowess

Syracuse Professor Named to Science News’ SN 10: Scientists to Watch

(Sept. 27, 2018)

Lisa Manning Included in Science News’ Annual List of 10 Young Scientists Making Their Mark

American Physical Society to Honor Professor Lisa Manning

(Oct. 23, 2017)

Physicist will receive early-career award for research into soft, living matter

Explore how physics predicts cancer cell behavior at Orange Central lecture

(Oct. 4, 2017)

Researcher examines cellular ‘traffic jams’ for clues to cancer treatment targets

Join us at Orange Central!

(Sept. 18, 2017)

Special events through the College of Arts & Sciences will showcase the some of the best that Syracuse has to offer.

M. Lisa Manning Awarded Simons Investigator Grant

(Dec. 5, 2016)

Prestigious international award encourages fearless, cutting-edge research

Physicists Awarded NSF Grant to Study Cancer-Cell Behavior

(Aug. 3, 2016)

Professors Manning, Marchetti, Schwarz use soft-matter physics to find cure for cancer

Biophysics Student Earns Top Honors at Statewide Research Conference

(June 3, 2016)

Kassidy Lundy ’16 to take her world-class research skills into Ph.D. program

Syracuse Physicist Awarded Simons Foundation Collaboration Grant

(April 13, 2016)

M. Lisa Manning part of $10 million project exploring glassy solids

Physicist to Receive Young Scientist Award in France

(April 5, 2016)

Lisa Manning will travel to France to accept Young Scientist Award

Syracuse Hosts ‘Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics’

(Feb. 10, 2016)

Weekend conference examined intersectionality in scientific, sociological settings

Syracuse Physicist Scores Back-to-Back Articles in Top Journals

(Oct. 1, 2015)

Lisa Manning breaks new ground in study of cell motion in biological tissues

Syracuse Physicist Lands NIH Grant Award to Study Tissue, Organ Formation

(Sept. 1, 2015)

M. Lisa Manning uses grant to investigate forces in organ development

Syracuse Physicist Awarded Grant to Study Physical Cell Biology

(June 16, 2015)

M. Lisa Manning to shed new light on formation of multicellular structures

Syracuse Physicist Earns Cottrell Scholar Award

(March 6, 2015)

M. Lisa Manning to use prestigious award to study cell behavior


2008 Ph.D. in Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara 2005 M.A. Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara 2002 B.S. Physics
B.S. Mathematics
University of Virginia

Awards & Professional Honors

  • 2015 Cottrell Scholar, Research Corporation
  • 2014 Scialog Fellow, Moore Foundation and Research Corporation
  • 2014 Physics Department Teaching Award, Phys 211, Syracuse University
  • 2014 Sloan Research Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • 2013 Physics Department Teaching Award, Phys 576, Syracuse University
  • 2008 Postdoctoral fellowship, Princeton Center for Theoretical Science
  • 2004 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Selected Publications

Rathbun, L.I., Colicino, E.G., Manikas, J. et al. Cytokinetic bridge triggers de novo lumen formation in vivo. Nat Commun 11, 1269 (2020).

M. L. Manning and A.J. Liu. Vibrational modes identify soft spots in a sheared disordered packing. Phys. Rev. Lett. 107 108302, arXiv:1012.4822 (2011).

K. Chen, M. L. Manning, P. J. Yunker, W. G. Ellenbroek, Z. Zhang, A. J. Liu, and A. G. Yodh. Structural instabilities and low-frequency modes in colloidal glasses. "Measurement of Correlations between Low-Frequency Vibrational Modes and Particle Rearrangements in Quasi-Two-Dimensional Colloidal Glasses." Phys. Rev. Lett.107 108301; arXiv:1103.2352 (2011).

M. L. Manning, R. A. Foty, M. S. Steinberg, and E.-M. Schoetz, “Coaction of intercellular adhesion and cortical tension specifies tissue surface tension,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 107, 28 12517-12522,(2010).

M. L. Manning, J. S. Langer, and J. M. Carlson. Strain localization in a shear transformation zone model for amorphous solids. Phys. Rev. E 76 056106 (2007).