Falvo, Michael R
Research Professor


Office: 160 Phillips Hall
Email: falvo@physics.unc.edu
Phone: (919) 962-9346
Web page: http://www.physics.unc.edu/~falvo/


  • Ph.D. Physics. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. 1997
  • M.S. Physics. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. 1994
  • B.S. Physics. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL. 1991
  • 2011-Present: Research Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy UNC-CH
  • 2007-2011: Research Associate Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy UNC-CH
  • 2001-2007: Research Assistant Professor, Curriculum of Appl. and Mat. Science UNC-CH
  • 2000-2001: Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy UNC-CH
  • 1998-2000: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy UNC-CH



My research interests focus on mechanical properties and processes of the nanoscale. Using imaging (atomic force, electron, optical, magnetic microscopies) and nanomanipulation techniques, I investigate mechanical deformation, motion, and energy dissipation processes in nanoscale systems. Areas of interest include:

  • Molecular biophysics (Cilia, Fibrin, Cell mechanics)
  • Nanometer scale electromechanical systems (NEMS)
  • Nanotribology (friction of nanoscale interfaces)


Selected Publications (of 62)

  • Sub-millisecond elastic recoil reveals molecular origins of fibrin fiber mechanics. N.E. Hudson, F. Ding, I. Bucay, E. T. O’Brien III, O. V. Gorkun, R. Superfine, S. T. Lord, N. V. Dokholyan, M. R. Falvo. Biophysical Journal, 104(12), p. 2671-2680, 2013.
  • Loops of Pericentric Chromatin Function as a Non-linear Spring Network to Balance Microtubule-Based Force in Mitosis. A.D. Stephens, R.A. Haggerty, P.A. Vasquez, L. Vicci, C.E. Snider, F. Shih, C. Quammen,  C. Mullins, J. Haase, R.M. Taylor II,  J. S. Verdaasdonk, M. R. Falvo, Y. Jin, M. G. Forest, K. Bloom.   J. Cell Bio, 200(6), p. 757-72, 2013.
  • Stiffening of Individual Fibrin Fibers Equitably Distributes Strain and Strengthens Networks. N.E. Hudson, J.R. Houser, O.B.E. T., R.M. Taylor II., R. Superfine, S.T. Lord, and M.R. Falvo, Biophysical Journal, 2010 98(8): p. 1632-1640
  • Evidence that alphaC region is origin of low modulus, high extensibility, and strain stiffening in fibrin fibers. J.R. Houser., N.E. Hudson, L. Ping, E.T. O’Brien III, R. Superfine, S.T. Lord, and M.R. Falvo. Biophysical Journal, 2010 99(9): p. 3038-47.
  • The molecular origins of the mechanical properties of fibrin. Falvo, M.R., O. Gorkun, and S.T. Lord, Biophys Chem, 2010 152(1-3): p. 15-20.
  • Fibrin fibers have extraordinary extensibility and elasticity. W. Liu, L. M. Jawerth, E. A. Sparks, M. R. Falvo, R. R. Hantgan, R. Superfine, S. T. Lord, M. Guthold, Science, 313 (5787): 634-634 (2006).
  • Tunable resistance of a carbon nanotube-graphite interface. S. Paulson, A. Helser, M.B. Nardelli, R.M. Taylor, M. Falvo, R. Superfine, and S. Washburn, Science, 2000. 290(5497): p. 1742-1744.
  • Nanometre-scale rolling and sliding of carbon nanotubes. M.R. Falvo, R.M. Taylor, A. Helser, V. Chi, F.P. Brooks, S. Washburn, and R. Superfine, Nature, 1999. 397(6716): p. 236-238.
  • Manipulation of individual viruses: Friction and mechanical properties. M.R. Falvo, S. Washburn, R. Superfine, M. Finch, F.P. Brooks, V. Chi, and R.M. Taylor, Biophysical Journal, 1997. 72(3): p. 1396-1403.
  • Bending and buckling of carbon nanotubes under large strain. M.R. Falvo, G.J. Clary, R.M. Taylor, V. Chi, F.P. Brooks, S. Washburn, and R. Superfine, Nature, 1997. 389(6651): p. 582-584


  • Nanoscale Science: Activities for Grades 6-12, M. G. Jones, M. R. Falvo, A.R. Taylor, B.P. Broadwell, National Science Teachers Association Press, 2007.
  • Extreme Science: From Nano to Galactic, M. Gail Jones, Amy R. Taylor, M.R. Falvo, National Science Teacher Association Press, 2009