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Allen J. Ehrlicher

Allen Ehrlicher
Assistant Professor

Ph.D. University of Leipzig, Germany
M.Sc. University of Leipzig, Germany
B.S. University of Texas, Austin

Macdonald Engineering Building, Room 569D
allen [dot] ehrlicher [at] mcgill [dot] ca (e-mail)

Research Interests

Biology is unique in the physical world in that it is able to convert chemical energy into active forces in precisely controlled ways. In my research we examine biology as an active soft material. By studying cellular processes, and recreating them in vitro, we investigate the specific molecular details of forces in biology that allow our bodies to function or cause them to fail, while directing strategies for new kinds of active materials.

  • Biology as an active material
  • Active Biopolymer Mechanics
  • Mechanics of disease
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Biomimetic Materials Science
  • Soft Condensed Matter Physics


  • BIEN 320: Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Biomechanics (3 credits)

Selected Publications

Probing the stochastic, motor-driven properties of the cytoplasm using force spectrum microscopy
Ming Guo, Allen J. Ehrlicher, Mikkel H. Jensen, Mathias Renz, Jeffrey R. Moore, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Fred C. Mackintosh, David A. Weitz, Cell, August 14, 158, 822-832 (2014).
Featured in Harvard News.

The Role of Vimentin Intermediate Filaments in Cortical and Cytoplasmic Mechanics
Ming Guo, Allen J. Ehrlicher, Saleemulla Mahammad, Hilary Fabich, Mikkel H. Jensen, Jeffrey R. Moore, Jeffrey J. Fredberg, Robert D. Goldman, David A. Weitz, Biophsical Journal, 105, 1562-1568 (2013).

Mechanical strain in actin networks regulates FilGAP and integrin binding to filamin A.
Ehrlicher AJ, Nakamura F, Hartwig JH, Weitz DA, Stossel TP.
Nature. 2011 Sep 18;478(7368):260-3. doi: 10.1038/nature10430.

Cell migration through small gaps.
Brunner CA, Ehrlicher A, Kohlstrunk B, Knebel D, Käs JA, Goegler M.
Eur Biophys J. 2006 Oct;35(8):713-9. Epub 2006 Jul 27.

Guiding neuronal growth with light.
Ehrlicher A, Betz T, Stuhrmann B, Koch D, Milner V, Raizen MG, Kas J.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Dec 10;99(25):16024-8. Epub 2002 Nov 27.

Please see MEDLINE indexed publications for a more comprehensive listing.