Holley Lynch

Holley Lynch

Assistant Professor of Physics

Dr. Lynch not only has an extensive background in physics but also has experience in a lab researching biological cells. After finishing her PhD, she went on to conduct postdoctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh.

  • PhD, Physics, Vanderbilt University, 2012
  • MS, Physics, Vanderbilt University, 2010
  • BA, Physics and Mathematics, Earlham College, 2006


Course Sampling

  • College Physics I
  • College Physics II
  • Modern Physics
  • Mathematical Methods in Physics
  • Physics Colloquium

Areas of Expertise

  • Math in physics
  • Bioengineering
  • Tissue migration in cancer metastasis


Holley Lynch received her PhD in physics from Vanderbilt University and worked as a postdoctoral researcher in bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She enjoys teaching and researching the physics of tissue migration. She finds the mechanics of biological tissues particularly interesting because they are a unique material: not quite a solid or a liquid and self-propelled.

In addition, determining the basic mechanics of tissue migration will help inform efforts to engineer organs and to create therapies that deter cancer metastasis. Lynch's research involves both "wet" work with cells and computational work to automate data analysis and compare experimental data with physical models. She looks forward to working with students interested in conducting research at the interfaces between biology and physics and between experiment and theory.


  • Biophysics
  • Tissue mechanics
  • Collective migration
  • Morphogenesis
  • Image analysis


  • D.N. Mashburn, H.E. Lynch, X. Ma, MS Hutson (2012) "Enabling user-guided segmentation and tracking of surface-labeled cells in time-lapse image sets of living tissues" Cytometry Part A 81A(5): 409-418 PMID: 22411907
  • H.E. Lynch, J. Veldhuis, G.W. Brodland, MS Hutson (2014) "Modeling cell elongation during germ band retraction: cell autonomy versus applied anisotropic stress" New Journal of Physics 16: 055003
  • H.E. Lynch, S.M. Crews, B. Rosenthal, E. Kim, R. Gish, K. Echiverri, MS Hutson (2013) "Cellular mechanics of germ band retraction in Drosophila" Developmental Biology 384(2): 205-213 PMID: 24135149
  • MS Hutson, J. Veldhuis, X. Ma, H.E. Lynch, P.G. Cranston, G.W. Brodland (2009) "Combining laser microsurgery and finite element modeling to assess cell-level epithelial mechanics" Biophysical Journal 97: 3075-3085 PMID: 20006944
  • X. Ma*, H.E. Lynch*, P.C. Scully, MS Hutson (2009) "Probing embryonic tissue mechanics with laser hole drilling" Physical Biology 6: 036004 PMID: 19411738