Karen Beningo

Karen Beningo

Associate Professor


313-577-6891 (fax)


2111 Biological Sciences Building (BSB)

Curriculum vitae


Biological Sciences

Karen Beningo

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 2024 (future)

Fall Term 2023 (current)

Spring-Summer Term 2023

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Spring-Summer Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

Fall Term 2021