Shang Ma, Ph.D., received his bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, with a major in genetics. He earned his Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he focused on chemical signaling pathways that mediate mammalian brain development. In 2015, Dr. Ma joined Dr. Ardem Patapoutian’s group at Scripps Research to study how cells sense mechanical forces during disease pathogenesis. During this postdoctoral training, he discovered that overactive PIEZO mechanosensitive ion channels play important roles in various human disorders.

In 2022, Dr. Ma joined the faculty of Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) as an Assistant Professor. He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Pediatrics.

The Ma laboratory uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand how cells sense and process mechanical stimuli in health and disease. They hope to identify novel “mechanosensing” pathways as promising drug targets for different diseases.



University of British Columbia (2007)
Graduate School
Uni of Wisconsin-Madison (2015)

Research Interest

  • Hematology
  • Immune cells
  • Ion channel function


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Excessive mechanotransduction in sensory neurons causes joint contractures.
Ma S, Dubin AE, Romero LO, Loud M, Salazar A, Chu S, Klier N, Masri S, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Chesler AT, Wilkinson KA, Vásquez V, Marshall KL, Patapoutian A, Science 2023 Jan 379 6628 201-206
A role of PIEZO1 in iron metabolism in mice and humans.
Ma S, Dubin AE, Zhang Y, Mousavi SAR, Wang Y, Coombs AM, Loud M, Andolfo I, Patapoutian A, Cell 2021 Feb 184 4 969-982.e13
Common PIEZO1 Allele in African Populations Causes RBC Dehydration and Attenuates Plasmodium Infection.
Ma S, Cahalan S, LaMonte G, Grubaugh ND, Zeng W, Murthy SE, Paytas E, Gamini R, Lukacs V, Whitwam T, Loud M, Lohia R, Berry L, Khan SM, Janse CJ, Bandell M, Schmedt C, Wengelnik K, Su AI, Honore E, Winzeler EA, Andersen KG, Patapoutian A Cell 2018 Mar