Allen J. Ehrlicher

Associate Professor

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

Teaching office: McConnell Engineering Building, Room 358
Research lab: 141 du Président-Kennedy Avenue, 5th floor.

allen.ehrlicher [at] (e-mail)

Research Interests

One of life's amazing feats is the conversion of chemical energy into active forces in precisely controlled ways, enabling us to take a walk, or our immune cells to chase infectious bacteria. In my research we examine how biology generates forces and regulates its material properties, with a particular focus at the scale of 100 microns to nanometers. By studying molecules and cells, we try to understand the physics behind cellular processes of our body's function or failure, and also direct strategies for new kinds of composite materials inspired by biology.

  • Cell mechanics
  • Mechanics of disease
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Biophysics
  • Biomimetic Materials Science
  • Soft Condensed Matter Physics


  • BIEN 320: Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Biomechanics
  • BIEN 570: Active Mechanics in Biology

Selected Publications

Centrifugation and index matching yield a strong and transparent bioinspired nacreous composite.
Amini A, Khavari A, Barthelat F, Ehrlicher AJ.
Science. 2021 Sep 10;373(6560): 1229-1234. doi:10.1126/science.abf0277.

Pattern-Based Contractility Screening, a Reference-Free Alternative to Traction Force Microscopy Methodology.
Ghagre A, Amini A, Srivastava LK, Tirgar P, Khavari A, Koushki N, Ehrlicher A.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 May 5;13(17):19726-19735. doi: 10.1021/acsami.1c02987.

Spatial distribution of lamin A/C determines nuclear stiffness and stress-mediated deformation.
Srivastava LK, Ju Z, Ghagre A, Ehrlicher AJ.
J Cell Sci. 2021 May 15;134(10):jcs248559. doi: 10.1242/jcs.248559.

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.



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