Mary Cowman ,

  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery


" "

Research Interests: Bioanalytical and biophysical chemistry. Structure, function, and medical applications of the biomatrix surrounding cells, with special expertise in hyaluronan polysaccharide. Identification of biomarkers and bioactive fragments derived from extracellular matrix. Development of medical diagnostic assays. Discovery and development of biotherapeutics and biomaterials.

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Ophthalmology Research

Brandeis University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry

Case Western Reserve University
Ph.D., Chemistry

Journal Articles


  • Rivas, F., Erxleben, D., Smith, I., Rahbar, E., DeAngelis, P.L., Cowman, M.K. and Hall, A.R.
    (2022) Methods for Isolating and Analyzing Physiological Hyaluronan: A Review, Am. J. Physiol.
    Cell Physiol.,

  • Ruiz, A., Duarte, A., Bravo, D., Ramos, E., Zhang, C., Cowman, M.K., Kirsch, T., Milne, M., Luyt, L.G., Raya, J.G. (2022) “In vivo multimodal imaging of hyaluronan-mediated inflammatory response in articular cartilage” Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 30, 329-340.

  • Hemed-Shaked, M.; Cowman, M. K.; Kim, J. R.; Huang, X.; Chau, E.; Ovadia, H.; Amar, K.-O.; Eshkar-Sebban, L.; Melamed, M.; Lev, L. B.; Kedar, E.; Armengol, J.; Alemany, J.; Beyth, S.; Okon, E.; Kanduc, D.; Elgavish, S.; Wallach-Dayan, S. B.; Cohen, S. J.; Naor, D. (2021) "MTADV 5-MER peptide suppresses chronic inflammations as well as autoimmune pathologies and unveils a new potential target-Serum Amyloid A" Journal of Autoimmunity 124, 102713.

  • Kirsch, T., Zhang, F., Braender-Carr, O., Cowman, M.K. (2021) “Protective Effects of a Hyaluronan-binding Peptide (P15-1) on Mesenchymal Stem Cells in an Inflammatory Environment” Int. J. Molec. Sci. 22, 7058.

  • Shortt, C., Luyt, L.G., Turley, E.A., Cowman, M.K., and Kirsch, T. (2020) “A Hyaluronan-Binding Peptide (P15-1) Reduces Inflammatory and Catabolic Events in IL-1β-Treated Human Articular Chondrocytes” Scientific Reports Jan 29;10(1):1441.

  • Liu, X., Shortt, C., Zhang, F., Bater, M.Q., Cowman, M.K. and Kirsch, T. (2020) “Extracellular Vesicles Released from Articular Chondrocytes Play a Major Role in Cell-Cell Communication” J. Orthop. Res. 38, 731-739.

  • Cowman, M.K. (2019) “Methods for Hyaluronan Molecular Mass Determination by Agarose Gel Electrophoresis” in Vigetti, D. and Theocharis, A., eds. The Extracellular Matrix: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol. 1952, Springer Science + Business Media, New York, pp 91-102.

  • Cowman, M.K., Shortt, C., Arora, S., Fu, Y., Villavieja, J., Rathore, J., Huang, X., Rakshit, T., Jung, G.I., and Kirsch, T. (2019) Role of Hyaluronan in Inflammatory Effects on Human Articular Chondrocytes” Inflammation, 42, 1808-1820.

  • Tolg, C., Cowman, M. and Turley, E.A. (2018) "Mouse Mammary Gland Whole Mount Preparation and Analysis" Bio-protocol 8, e2915.
  • Tolg, C., Cowman, M.K., Turley, E.A. (2018) “HA Isolation from Mammary Gland” Bio-protocol 8, e2865.
  • Park, D.S.J., Regmi, S.C., Svystonyuk, D.A., Teng, G., Belke, D., Turnbull, J., Guzzardi, D.G., Kang, S., Cowman, M.K., Schmidt, T.A., Fedak, P.W.M. (2018) "Human Pericardial Proteoglycan 4 (Lubricin): Implications for Post-Cardiotomy Intrathoracic Adhesion Formation" J. Thorac Cardiovasc Surgery 156, 1598-1608. PMID:29859675
  • Huang, X., Schmidt, T.A., Shortt, C., Arora, S., Asari, A., Kirsch, T., and Cowman, M.K. (2018) "A Competitive AlphaScreen Assay for Detection of Hyaluronan" Glycobiology 28, 137-147. PMID:29300896
  • Tolg, C., Yuan, H., Flynn, S.M., Basu, K., Ma, J., Tse, K.C.K., Kowalska, B., Vulkanesku, D., Cowman, M.K., McCarthy, J.B., Turley, E.A. (2017) “Hyaluronan Modulates Growth Factor Induced Mammary Gland Branching in a Size Dependent Manner” Matrix Biology 63, 117-132. PMID:28232112
  • Cowman, M.K. (2017) "Mutual Macromolecular Crowding as the Basis for Polymer Solution Non-ideality" Polym Adv Technol 28, 1000-1004.
  • Cowman, M.K., Schmidt, T.A., Raghavan, P., and Stecco, A. (2015) “Viscoelastic Properties of Hyaluronan in Physiological Conditions” F1000Research 2015, 4:622. PMID:26594344
  • Schwertfeger, K.L., Cowman, M.K., Telmer, P., Turley, E.A., and McCarthy, J.B. (2015) "Hyaluronan, Inflammation and Breast Cancer Progression," Frontiers in Immunology 6:236. PMID:26106384
  • Cowman, M.K., Lee, H-G., Schwertfeger, K.L., McCarthy, J.B., and Turley, E.A. (2015) "The Content and Size of Hyaluronan in Biological Fluids and Tissues", Frontiers in Immunology 6:261. PMID:26082778
  • 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.  PMID:25579786
  • Ludwig, T., Cowman, M., Jay, G., Schmidt, T. (2014) "Effects of Concentration and Structure on Proteoglycan 4 Rheology and Interaction with Hyaluronan" Biorheology 51, 409-422. PMID:25818000
  • 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. PMID:24550356
  • 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. PMID:23950179
  • 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. PMID:23964097
  • 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 b-Defensin 2 in Intestinal Epithelium” J. Biol. Chem. 287, 30610-31624. PMID:22761444
  • 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. PMID:22889846
  • 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. PMID:21683677
  • 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 PMID:21684248
  • 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. PMID:21683677


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:

  • Cowman, M.K. (2019) “Methods for Hyaluronan Molecular Mass Determination by Agarose Gel Electrophoresis” in Vigetti, D. and Theocharis, A., eds. The Extracellular Matrix: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol. 1952, Springer Science + Business Media, New York, pp 91-102. PMID:30825168
  • Cowman, M.K. (2017) “Hyaluronan and Hyaluronan Fragments”, in Advances in Carbohydrate Chemistry and Biochemistry, D.C. Baker, ed., Elsevier/Academic Press, Burlington, Vol. 74, pp 1-59. PMID:29173725


  • Founding Chair, Biomedical Engineering Department, 2019-2020
  • Director, Biomatrix Research Center, 2015-2016
  • Visiting Professor, Biomedical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, 2014-2019
  • Associate Dean for Bioengineering, 2013-2019
  • Associate Provost for Programs, Planning, and Development, 2011-2013
  • Director-at Large, New York Section, American Chemical Society, 2007-2008
  • Director, Westchester subsection, American Chemical Society, 2006-2010
  • Director, Othmer Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2006-2008
  • Department Head, Chemistry, 1993-1995
  • Member of International Society for Hyaluronan Sciences, American Chemical Society, Biophysical Society, Society for Glycobiology, American Society for Matrix Biology, Orthopaedic Research Society, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Scientific Program and Planning Committees: "Hyaluronan 2000", "MMC-9" (Macromolecule-Metal Complexes 2001), "Hyaluronan 2003", “Hyaluronan 2007”, "Hyaluronan 2013", "Hyaluronan 2015", Hyaluronan 2017, "Hyaluronan 2019".

  • Founding Member, Treasurer (2004-2008), Secretary (2009-2013), Trustee (2014-2015, President-Elect (2015), President (2016-2019), International Society for Hyaluronan Sciences, 2004-present
  • Distinguished Scientist Award, Westchester Chemical Society, 2007
  • Distinguished Teacher Award, Polytechnic University, 2006

Biocompatible materials containing stable complexes of TSG-6 and hyaluronan and method of using same, (US Patent No. 8,093,365. Issued January 10, 2012.)

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

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

Compositions and Methods for Cartilage Defect Repair using a RHAMM - Mimetic Pepide , (US Patent 10, 449, 229. Issued October 22, 2019)

Method for separating hyaluronan and quantifying its molecular mass distribution in biological samples. US Patent 10,723,812. Issued July 28, 2020


Research Briefs

Aug 12, 2021