Mary Cowman ,

Associate Dean and Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

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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


  • 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, in press) “Hyaluronan Modulates Growth Factor Induced Mammary Gland Branching in a Size Dependent Manner” Matrix Biology
  • Cowman, M.K. (2016) "Mutual Macromolecular Crowding as the Basis for Polymer Solution Non-ideality" Polym AdvTechnol DOI: 10.1002/pat.3950
  • Cowman, M.K., Schmidt, T.A., Raghavan, P., and Stecco, A. (2015) “Viscoelastic Properties of Hyaluronan in Physiological Conditions” F1000Research 2015, 4:622
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 -Defensin 2 in Intestinal Epithelium” J. Biol. Chem. 287, 30610-31624.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.

  • Director, Biomatrix Research Center, 2015-2016
  • 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 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.

  • Founding Member, former Treasurer, Secretary, Trustee, and current President, 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

US Patent No. 8,093,365. Issued January 10, 2012.

Biocompatible materials containing stable complexes of TSG-6 and , (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. )