Amy Rowat


phone:   54026

office:  1125 Terasaki Life Sciences Bldg


research interests:  Mechanics and Physiology of Biological Materials


B.Sc., Physics (honors, With Distinction), Mount Allison University 1998
B.A., Asian Studies, French, & Math (honors), Mount Allison University 1999
M.Sc., Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark 2000
Ph.D., Physics, University of Southern Denmark 2005

Research Interests

My laboratory aims to characterize the physical and mechanical properties of biological matter, infer their molecular origins, and uncover their role in physiological processes. We focus on two broad questions: (1) What are the molecular origins of cell and nuclear physical properties? (2) What are the consequences of cell and nuclear physical properties in physiology and disease? The physical properties of cells and nuclei are central to genome integrity, gene expression, and mechanotransduction; while altered cell mechanotype is the hallmark of a wide variety of diseases from cancer to laminopathies, the origins and consequences of these physical changes are incompletely understood. To achieve this goal, we study the mechanical properties of populations of single cells, using insights from physics and engineering to design new experiments and analyze biological processes ranging from metastasis to mechanotransduction. We also develop novel high throughput technologies to screen cells based on their mechanotype. Our focus on cell mechanotype in physiology and disease is multifaceted and involves the integration of mechanotyping results with data from gene and protein expression, bioinformatics analyses, and functional assays. This new class of experiments will enable us to build a deeper fundamental understanding of the origins of cell mechanical properties and advance mechanotype for clinical applications.

Selected Publications

Kim TH, Rowat AC*, Sloan E*, "Neural regulation of cancer: from mechanobiology to inflammation", Clinical and Translational Immunology, 5 : e78- (2016) .

Lautscham, L.A., Kaemmerer, C., Lange, J., Kolb, T., Mark, C., Schilling, A., Strissel, P., Strick, R., Gluth, C., Rowat, A.C., Metzner, C., Fabry, B., "Migration in confined 3D environments is determined by a combination of adhesiveness, nuclear volume, contractility, and cell stiffness", Biophys. J, 109 : 1-14 (2015) .

Zhou L, Nyberg K, Rowat AC, "Understanding Fick's law and diffusion theory through food & cooking", Adv. Physiol. Edu, 39 : 192-197 (2015) .

Soh, M., Roth-Johnson, E.A., Levis, M., Rowat, A.C., "Interactive taste tests enhance student learning", Adv. Physiol. Edu, 45 : 44-48 (2015) .

Clarke, C.F., Rowat, A.C., Gober, J.W., "Is CoQ a membrane stabilizer?", Nat. Chem. Biol, 10 : 242-243 (2014) .

Rowat, A.C., "The Molecules We Eat: Food as a Medium to Communicate Science", Flavour, 2 : 10- (2013) .

Rowat, A.C., Jaalouk, D.E., Zwerger, M., Ung, L., Eydelnant, I., Olins, D.E., Olins, A., Herrmann, H., Weitz, D.A., and Lammerding, J., "Nuclear envelope composition determines the ability of neutrophil-type cells to passage through micron-scale constrictions", J. Biol. Chem, 288 : 8610-8618 (2013) .

Qi, D., Chan, C.K., and Rowat, A.C., "Parallel fabrication of an array of holes in PDMS", Lab on a Chip ?? Chips & Tips, (2012) [link].

Martinez, C.J., Kim, J.W., Ye, C., Ortiz, I., Rowat, A.C., Marquez, M., and Weitz, D.A., "A microfluidic approach to encapsulate living cells in uniform alginate hydrogel microparticles", Macromolecular Bioscience, 12 : 946-951 (2012) .

Rowat, A.C., Hollar, K., Rosenberg, D., and Stone, H.A., "The science of chocolate: phase transitions, emulsification, and nucleation", J. Chem. Edu, 88 : 29-33 (2011) .