Karen Beningo

Karen Beningo

Associate Professor


313-577-6891 (fax)


2111 Biological Sciences Building (BSB)

Karen Beningo


Biological Sciences

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

Cell Biology, cell migration and invasion, adhesion and cell mechanics.


  • B.S. in Microbiology, 1986 Michigan State University
  • Ph.D. Cell, Developmental and Neural Biology, 1998 University of Michigan

Awards and grants

  • University Outstanding Graduate Mentor
  • College Award for Excellence in Teaching

Selected publications

  • Bingqing Hao and K.A. Beningo. 2023.Traction force and mechanosensing can be functionally distinguished through the use of specific domains of the calpain small subunit. BioRxiv. Doi: https//doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.07.531592.
  • Bingqing Hao and K.A. Beningo. 2023. Regulation of traction force through the direct binding of Basigin and Calpain4. BioRxiv. Doi: https//doi.org//10.1101/2023.03.06.531406. 
  • Jang I and K.A. Beningo. 2019. Integrins, CAF’s and Mechanical Forces in the Progression of Cancer. Cancers. 24;11(5). Doi: 10.3390/cancers11050721.
  • Indra, I., Gasparski, A., and K.A. Beningo. 2018. An in vitro correlation of metastatic capacity and dual mechanostimulation. PLoS One. 2018 Nov 14;13(11):e0207490. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207490. eCollection 2018.
  • Gasparski A, S. Ozarkar and K.A. Beningo. 2017. Spatially Randomized Mechanical Strain Promotes the Maturation of Invadopodia and Enhances Cancer Cell Invasion in Vitro. JCS. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.199760.
  • Mehta, N.J., Asmaro, K., Hermiz, D.J., Njus, M.M., Saleh, A.H., Beningo, K.A., and D. Njus. 2016. Hypochlorite Converts dopamine oxidation products into redox- cycling compounds: A possible role in Parkinson’s disease. FRBM, 101:44-52.
  • Gasparski A. and K.A. Beningo. 2015. Mechanoreception at the membrane; More than the integrins. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. S0003-9861(15)30022-9. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2015.07.017. 
  • Subramonian, D., Raghunayakula, S., Olsen, J.V., Beningo, K.A., Paschen, W., X.D. Zhang. 2014. Analysis of changes in SUMO-2/3 modification during breast cancer progression and metastasis. J. Proteome Res., 13(9):3905-18.
  • Indra, I., and K.A. Beningo. 2011. An In-vitro Correlation of Metastatic Capacity, Substrate Rigidity, and ECM Composition. J. Cell Biochem, 112(11):3151-8.
  • Menon, S., C.M. Kang and K.A. Beningo. 2011. Galectin-3 secretion and tyrosine phosphorylation is dependent on the calpain small subunit, Calpain 4. BBRC 24;410(1):91-6.
  • Menon, S. and K.A. Beningo. 2011. Cancer cell invasion is enhanced by applied mechanical stimulation. PLoS One Feb 17;6(2):e17277. 
  • Indra, I., V. Undyala, C.E. Kandow, U. Thirumurthi, M. Dembo and K.A. Beningo. 2011. An In-vitro correlation of mechanical forces and metastatic capacity. Phys Biol. Feb;8(1):015015. Featured cover article. Top 3% of downloads for the suite of journals published by the Institute of Physics (IOP).
  • Undyala, V., M. Dembo, K. Cembrola, B. Perrin, A. Huttenlocher, J. Elce, P. Greer, Y.-L. Wang and K.A. Beningo. 2008. The Calpain small subunit regulates cell-substrate mechanical interactions during fibroblast migration. J. Cell Science 121:3581-3588. Highlighted by journal “In this Issue” column.
  • Kandow, C.E., P.C. Georges, P.A. Janmey, K.A. Beningo. 2007. Polyacrylamide Hydrogels for Cell Mechanics: Steps towards optimization and alternative uses. Methods in Cell Biology: Cell Mechanics, MICB 83;29-46. 
  • Beningo, K.A. and Y.-L. Wang. 2007. Double-hydrogel substrate as a model system for 3D cell culture. Methods in Mol. Biol. 370:203-211. 
  • Beningo, K.A., K. Hamao, M. Dembo, Y.-L. Wang and H. Hosoya. 2006. Traction forces of fibroblasts are regulated by the Rho-dependent kinase but not by the myosin light chain kinase. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 456:224-231. 
  • Beningo, K.A., M. Dembo and Y.-L. Wang. 2004. Responses of fibroblasts to anchorage of dorsal extracellular matrix receptors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 101(52):18024-29. 
  • Kaverina, I., O. Krylyshkina, K. Beningo, Kurt Anderson, Y.-L. Wang, and J.V. Small. 2002. Tensile stress stimulates microtubule outgrowth in living cells. J. Cell Sci. 115(11):2283-2291.
  • Beningo, K. A., C.-M. Lo, and Y.-L. Wang. 2002. Flexible polyacrylamide substrata for the analysis of mechanical interactions at cell-substratum adhesions. Methods in Cell Biology 69:325-339.
  • Beningo, K.A., and Y.-L. Wang. 2002. Fc-receptor mediated phagocytosis is regulated by mechanical properties of the target. J. Cell Sci. 115:849-856.
  • Beningo, K.A. and Y.-L. Wang. 2002. Flexible substrata for the detection of cellular traction forces. Trends in Cell Biol. 112(2):79-84.
  • Beningo, K.A., M. Dembo, I. Kaverina, J.V. Small, and Y.-L. Wang. 2001. Nascent focal adhesions are responsible for the generation of strong propulsive forces in migrating fibroblasts. J. Cell Biol. 153(4):881-887. featured cover.(Images from manuscript included in the college textbook Cell and Molecular Biology, 4th Edition, by Gerald Karp).
  • Kaverina, I., O. Krylyshkina, M. Gimono, K. Beningo, Y.-L. Wang, and J.V. Small. 2000. Enforced polarization and locomotion of fibroblasts lacking microtubules. Curr. Biol. 10:739-742.
  • Beningo, K., S. Lillie and S. Brown. 2000. The yeast kinesin-related protein Smy1p exerts its effects on the class V myosin Myo2p via a physical interaction. Mol. Bio. Cell 11:691-702.
  • Swanson, J., M. Johnson, K. Beningo, P. Post, M. Mooseker, and N. Araki. 1999. A contractile activity that closes phagosomes in macrophages. J. Cell Sci. 112 (pt3):307-16.
  • Ahn, K., S. Pan, K. Beningo, and D. Hupe. 1995. A permanent cell line (EA.hy926) preserves the characteristics of endothelin converting enzyme from primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Life Sci. 56, 2331-2341.
  • Ahn, K., K.A. Beningo, G. Olds, D. Hupe. 1992. The endothelin converting enzyme from human umbilical vein is a membrane-bound metalloprotease and similar to that of bovine aortic endothelial cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 89, 8606-8610.
  • Sebolt-Leopold, J.S., P.W. Vincent, K.A. Beningo, W.L. Elliott, W.R. Leopold, T.G. Heffner,J.N. Wiley, M.A. Stier, and M.J. Suto. 1991. Pharmacologic/ pharmacokinetic evaluation of emesis induced by analogs of RSU 1069 and its control by antiemetic agents. Int. J. Radiation Oncology, and Biol. Phys. 22, 549- 551.
  • Kessel, D., P.R. Thompson, K.A. Saatio, and K.D. Nantwi. 1987. Tumor localization and photosensitization by sulfonated derivatives of tetraphenylporphine. Photochem. Photobiol. 45, 787-790.

Incremental coursework

Accepting doctoral and masters students for F23 rotations. 

Citation index

4358 citations per google scholar

Courses taught by Karen Beningo

Winter Term 2023 (current)

Fall Term 2022

Spring-Summer Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

Fall Term 2021