Mary K. Cowman

Mary K. Cowman

Associate Dean for Bioengineering and Professor of Biochemistry and Bioengineering

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

  • Phone: (212) 992-5971
  • Office: 433 First Avenue, Room 910, New York, NY 10010

Journal Articles

  • Cowman, M.K., Lee, H-G., Schwertfeger, K.L., McCarthy, J.B., and Turley, E.A. (2015, in press) "The Content and Size of Hyaluronan in Biological Fluids and Tissues", Frontiers in Immunology
  • Schwertfeger, K.L., Cowman, M.K., Telmer, P., Turley, E.A., and McCarthy, J.B. (2015, in press) "Hyaluronan, Inflammation and Breast Cancer Progression," Frontiers in Immunology
  • Ludwig, T., Cowman, M., Jay, G., Schmidt, T. (2015) "Effects of Concentration and Structure on Proteoglycan 4 Rheology and Interaction with Hyaluronan" Biorheology 51, 409-422.
  • Yuan, H., Amin, R., Ye, X., de la Motte, C.A., and Cowman, M.K. (2015) "Determination of Hyaluronan Molecular Mass Distribution in Human Breast Milk" Anal. Biochem. 474, 78-88.  PMID25579786
  • Doudevski, I., Rostagno, A., Cowman, M., Liebmann, J., Ritch, R., and Ghiso, J. (2014) "Clusterin and complement activation in exfoliation glaucoma" Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 55, 2491-2499. PMID24550356
  • Hill, D.R., Rho, H.K., Kessler, S.P., Amin, R., Homer, C.R., McDonald, C., Cowman, M.K., and de la Motte, C.A. (2013) "Human milk hyaluronan enhances innate defense of the intestinal epithelium" J. Biol. Chem. 288, 29090-29104. PMID23950179
  • Yuan, H., Tank, M., Alsofyani, A., Shah, N., Talati, N., LoBello, J.C., Kim, J.R., Oonuki, Y., de la Motte, C.A., and Cowman, M.K. (2013) "Molecular mass dependence of hyaluronan detection by sandwich ELISA-like assay and membrane blotting using biotinylated HA binding protein" Glycobiology 23, 1270-1280. PMID23964097
  • Hill, D.R., Kessler, S.P., Rho, H.K., Cowman, M.K., and de la Motte, C.A. (2012) “Specific-sized Hyaluronan Fragments Promote Expression of Human β-Defensin 2 in Intestinal Epithelium” J. Biol. Chem. 287, 30610-31624. PMID22761444
  • Tolg, C., Zalinska, E., Hamilton, S., McCulloch, L., Akentieva, N., Winnik, F., Savani, R., Bagli, D.J., Luyt, L.G., Amin, R., Cowman, M.K., McCarthy, J.B., and Turley, E.A. (2012) “A RHAMM mimetic peptide blocks hyaluronan fragment signaling and promotes skin excisional wound repair by reducing inflammation” Am. J. Pathology 181, 1250-1270. PMID22889846
  • Cowman, M.K., Hernandez, M., Kim, J.R., Yuan, H., and Hu, Y. (2012) "Macromolecular Crowding in the Biomatrix", in Structure and Function of Biomatrix: Control of Cell Behavior and Gene Expression, E.A. Balazs, ed., Matrix Biology Institute, Edgewater, NJ, pp. 45-66.
  • Kwiecinski, J.J., Dorosz, S.G., Hill, T.E., Abubacker, S., Cowman, M.K., and Schmidt, T.A. (2011) "The Effect of Molecular Weight on Hyaluronan's Cartilage Boundary Lubricating Ability – Alone and in Combination with Proteoglycan 4"  Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 19, 1356-1362. PMID21683677
  • Bhilocha, S., Amin, R., Pandya, M., Yuan, H., Tank, M., LoBello, J., Shytuhina, A., Wang, W., Wisniewski, H-G., de la Motte, C.A., and Cowman, M.K. (2011) "Agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis methods for molecular weight analysis of 5-500 kDa HA" Anal. Biochem., 417, 41-49. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2011.05.026  PMID21684248
  • Cowman, M.K., Chen, C.C., Pandya, M., Yuan, H., Ramkishun, D., LoBello, J., Bhilocha, S., Russell-Puleri, S., Skendaj, E., Mijovic, J., and Jing, W. (2011) "Improved Agarose Gel Electrophoresis Method and Molecular Weight Calculation for High Molecular Weight Hyaluronan" Anal. Biochem., 417, 50-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2011.05.023 PMID21683677
  • Colon, E., Shytuhina, A., Cowman, M.K., Band, P.A., Sanggaard, K., Enghild, J.J., and Wisniewski, H-G. (2009) "Transfer of Inter-α-Inhibitor Heavy Chains to Hyaluronan by Surface-linked Hyaluronan – TSG-6 Complexes" J. Biol. Chem. 284, 2320-31. PMID19033448
  • Funami, T., Zhang, G., Hiroe, M., Noda, S., Nakauma, M., Asai, I., Cowman, M.K., Al-Assaf, S., Phillips, G.O. (2007) "Effects of the proteinaceous moiety on the emulsifying properties of sugar beet pectin", Food Hydrocolloids, 21, 1319-1329.
  • Tarasenko, O., Nourbakhsh, S., Kuo, S.P., Bakhtina, A., Alustra, P., Kudasheva, D., Cowman, M., and Levon, K. (2006) "Scanning Electron and Atomic Force Microscopy to Study Plasma Torch Effects on B. Cereus Spores" IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. 34, 1281-1289.
  • Cowman, M.K.,  Funami, T., Al-Assaf, S., Kudasheva, D.S., Mohan, D., and Phillips, G.O. (2006) "Use of Atomic Force Microscopy to Investigate the Structure of Arabinogalactan Proteins" Food Food Ingred. J. Japan. 211, 207-212.
  • Cowman, M.K., Spagnoli, C., Kudasheva, D.S., Matsuoka, S., and Balazs, E.A. (2005) “Influence of Environment on Hyaluronan Shape” in Hyaluronan: Its Structure, Metabolism, Biological Activities, and Therapeutic Applications", E.A. Balazs and V.C. Hascall, eds., Matrix Biology Institute, Edgewater, NJ, pp. 79-87.
  • Spagnoli, C., Korniakov, A., Ulman, A., Balazs, E.A., Lyubchenko, Y., and Cowman, M.K. (2005) “Hyaluronan Conformations on Surfaces: Effect of Surface Charge and Hydrophobicity” Carb. Res. 340, 929-941. PMID15780258
  • Cowman, M.K. and Matsuoka, S. (2005) "Experimental Approaches to Hyaluronan Structure" Carb. Res. 340, 791-809. PMID15780246
  • Cowman, M.K., Spagnoli, C., Kudasheva, D., Li, M., Dyal, A., Kanai, S., and Balazs, E.A. (2005) “Extended, Relaxed, and Condensed Conformations of Hyaluronan”  Biophys. J. 88, 590-602. PMID15489305
  • Kudasheva, D.S., Lai, J., Ulman, A., and Cowman, M.K. (2004) “Structure of Carbohydrate-Bound Polynuclear Iron Oxyhydroxide Nanoparticles in Parenteral Formulations” J. Inorg. Biochem. 98, 1757-1769. PMID15522403
  • Gupta, P., Loos, K., Korniakov, A., Spagnoli, C., Cowman, M., Ulman, A. (2004) “Facile Route to Ultraflat SAM-Protected Gold Surfaces by ‘Amphiphile Splitting’” Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. 43, 520-523. PMID14735551
  • Kazakov, S., Kaholek, M., Kudasheva, D., Teraoka, I., Cowman, M.K., and Levon, K. (2003) “Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-1-vinylimidazole) Hydrogel Nanoparticles Prepared and Hydrophobically Modified in Liposome Reactors: Atomic Force Microscopy and Dynamic Light Scattering” Langmuir 19, 8086-8093.
  • Spagnoli, C., Loos, K., Ulman, A., and Cowman, M.K. (2003) “Imaging Structured Water and Bound Polysaccharide on Mica Surface at Ambient Temperature”  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125, 7124-7128. PMID12783566
  • Paradossi, G., Cavalieri, F., Chiessi, E., Spagnoli, C., and Cowman, M.K. (2003) “Poly(vinyl alcohol) as versatile biomaterial for potential biomedical applications” J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Med. 14, 687-691. PMID15348409
  • Dyal, A., Loos, K., Noto, M., Chang, S.W., Spagnoli, C., Shafi, K.V.P.M., Ulman, A., Cowman, M., and Gross, R.A. (2003) “Activity of Candida Rugosa Lipase Immobilized on γ-Fe2O3 Magnetic Nanoparticles” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125, 1684-5. PMID12580578
  • Hoefling, J.M., Cowman, M.K., Matsuoka, S., and Balazs, E.A. (2002) "Temperature Effect on the Dynamic Rheological Characteristics of Hyaluronan, Hylan A, and Synvisc®", in Hyaluronan, J.F. Kennedy, G.O. Phillips, P.A. Williams, eds., Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, pp. 103-108.
  • Matsuoka, S. and Cowman, M.K. (2002) "Viscosity of Polymer Solutions Revisited", in Hyaluronan, J.F. Kennedy, G.O. Phillips, P.A. Williams, eds., Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, pp. 79-88.
  • Cowman, M.K. and Matsuoka, S. (2002) "The Intrinsic Viscosity of Hyaluronan", in Hyaluronan, J.F. Kennedy, G.O. Phillips, P.A. Williams, eds., Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, pp. 75-78.
  • Cowman, M.K., Li, M., Dyal, A., and Kanai, S. (2002) "Tapping Mode Atomic Force Microscopy of Hyaluronan and Hylan A",  in Hyaluronan, J.F. Kennedy, G.O. Phillips, P.A. Williams, eds., Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, pp.109-116.
  • Matsuoka, S. and Cowman, M.K. (2002) “Equation of State for Polymer Solution”  Polymer  43, 3447-3453.
  • Cowman, M.K., Feder-Davis, J., and Hittner, D.M. (2001) "13C-NMR Studies of Hyaluronan. 2. Dependence of Conformational Dynamics on Chain Length and Solvent." Macromolecules 34, 110-115.
  • Stenger, J., Cowman, M., Eggers, F., Eyring, E.M., Kaatze, U., and Petrucci, S. (2000) "Molecular Dynamics and Kinetics of Monosaccharides in Solution.  A Broadband Ultrasonic Relaxation Study." J. Phys. Chem. B 104, 4782-4790.
  • Kwei, T.K., Nakazawa, M., Matsuoka, S., Cowman, M.K., and Okamoto, Y. (2000) "The Concentration Dependence of Solution Viscosities of Rigid Polymers." Macromolecules 33, 235-236.
  • Cowman, M.K., Li, M., Dyal, A., and Balazs, E.A. (2000) "Tapping Mode Atomic Force Microscopy of the Hyaluronan Derivative, Hylan A." Carbohydr. Polym. 41, 229-235.
  • Liu, J. and Cowman, M.K. (2000) "Thermal Analysis of Semi-Dilute Hyaluronan Solutions." J. Therm. Anal. Calorim. 59, 547-557.


Case Western Reserve University

Ph.D., Chemistry

Brandeis University

Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Ophthalmology Research


Nanocomposite Hyaluronic Acid-Clay Based Hydrogels., (US Patent 8,367,117. Issued February 5, 2013. )

Biocompatible materials containing stable complexes of TSG-6 and , (US Patent 8,420,601 (divisional). Issued April 16, 2013)

Biocompatible materials containing stable complexes of TSG-6 and , (US Patent 8,093,365. Issued January 10, 2012)

Authored + Edited Books

Books Edited:

  • Garg, H.G., Cowman, M.K., and Hales, C.A., eds. (2008) "Carbohydrate Chemistry, Biology, and Medical Applications", Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Book Chapters:

  • Fasman, G.D. and Cowman, M.K. (1978). "Interpretation of Chromatin Structure by Circular Dichroism Analysis."  in The Cell Nucleus, Vol. 5, H. Busch, ed., Academic Press, New York, pp.55-97.
  • Cowman, M.K. and Mendichi, R. (2004) “Methods for Determination of Hyaluronan Molecular Weight” in Chemistry and Biology of Hyaluronan, H.G. Garg and C.A. Hales, eds., Elsevier Press, Amsterdam, pp. 41-69.

Awards + Distinctions

  • Founding Member, former Treasurer, Secretary, Trustee, and current President-Elect, International Society for Hyaluronan Sciences, 2004-present
  • Distinguished Scientist Award, Westchester Chemical Society, 2007
  • Distinguished Teacher Award, Polytechnic University, 2006


  • Director, Biomatrix Research Center, 2015-present
  • Visiting Professor, Biomedical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, 2014-present
  • Director, Westchester subsection, American Chemical Society, 2006-2010
  • Director-at Large, New York Section, American Chemical Society, 2007-2008
  • Member of American Chemical Society, Biophysical Society, Society for Glycobiology, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi.
  • Scientific Program and Planning Committees: "Hyaluronan 2000", "MMC-9" (Macromolecule-Metal Complexes 2001), "Hyaluronan 2003", “Hyaluronan 2007”, "Hyaluronan 2013"

Research Interests

Bioanalytical and biophysical chemistry. Determination of structure, function, and medical applications of the cellular microenvironment, with special expertise in hyaluronan polysaccharide. Identification of biomarkers and bioactive fragments derived from extracellular molecules. Discovery and development of new biotherapeutics and biomaterials.