Alan Rowan

  • Professor
  • University of Queensland

Professor Alan Rowan has performed his research at the interface of chemistry and biology with seminal and pioneering work on processive catalysis and functional self-assembly. His latest scientific achievement has been the development of the first truly biomimetic hydrogel which mimics the mechanic and functional properties of the extracellular membrane. This recent discovery has further established Professor Rowan as a truly innovative scientist, working toward understanding at the molecular level the functional of hierarchical materials and catalysis.

Professor Rowan’s considerable scientific curiosity has resulted in him working in many areas, ranging from magnetic materials, single enzyme catalysis, supramolecular catalysis through to nanometer-sized solar cells and photonic materials. In the last ten years he developed the concept of processive catalysis, mimicking the natural exo- and endonucleases and demonstrated that a macrocyclic catalyst can thread onto and move along a polymer substrate in a highly efficient process. Demonstrating that such a process was possible, led Prof Rowan to study more precisely the physical chemistry of the process.

In the last three years Professor Rowan has been intrigued by the complex relationship between the architecture and mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix and its interaction with cells and proteins. His group developed the first truly biomimetic hydrogel, which mimics precisely the mechanical behaviour of the natural fibrous materials. This work has received considerable attention since it is the first step to truly controlling cell behaviour. This scientific breakthrough is already now being developed commercial for wound dressing, drug therapeutic and cell growth.

Professor Rowan has published nearly 300 hundred peer-reviewed articles and books which were cited 12,000 times. He has had the pleasure of supervising more than 45 PhDs students who have received their doctoral degree.

More information

View all profiles