Assistant Professor of Biology 

Director of Microscopy Laboratory

B.S. – University of Southern California
Ph.D. – ETH Zurich

Phone – 540-568-4521
Office – Bioscience 2036

Office Hours

Courses: Cell and Molecular Biology (214), Light Microscopy (432/532)

Research Interests: Cellular and extracellular matrix mechanobiology

My overarching research interest is how cells in the body sense, respond to, and alter their surrounding environment. This interest grew from my work in bioengineering/biophysics and cell biology, during which I studied tissue engineering and cancer progression, respectively. Although very different areas of human health, both involve changes to the homeostatic environment that alter host cell behavior and influence clinical outcome. For example, artificial tissue scaffolds should encourage host cells to infiltrate and remodel the scaffold into normal tissue; yet most current artificial scaffolds cannot do this. An opposite problem exists in many cancers in which the tumor co-opts neighboring (normal) cells to remodel the surrounding tissue and create an environment that promotes tumor growth invasiveness. The inability to control cell invasion and cell-mediated tissue modification in these and other cases stems in part from a limited understanding of the physical interactions between cells and their surroundings. In particular, I am interested in the dynamic interplay in which physical cues from the microenvironment alter cell phenotype, and cells feedback to modify those very same cues. Although a cell’s microenvironment is often assumed to be static and passive, it is neither: it both instructs and is changed by cell behavior. I study this problem in the context of extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis and cell migration. For more information, see my personal faculty website.

Kubow, K.E., Conrad, S.K., and Horwitz, A.R. (2013) Matrix microarchitecture and myosin II determine adhesion in 3D matrices. Current Biology. 23(17):1607-1619.

Bachir, A.I., Kubow, K.E., and Horwitz, A.R. (2013) Fluorescence fluctuation approaches to the study of adhesion and signaling. Methods in Enzymology. 519:169-203.

Kubow, K.E. and Horwitz, A.R. (2011) Reducing background fluorescence reveals adhesions in 3D matrices. Nature Cell Biology. 13(1):3-5.

Kubow, K.E., Klotzsch, E., Smith, M.L., Gourdon, D., Little, W.C., and Vogel, V. (2009) Crosslinking of cell-derived 3D scaffolds up-regulates the stretching and unfolding of new extracellular matrix assembled by reseeded cells. Integrative Biology. 1(11-12):635-648.

Meinel, A.J., Kubow, K.E., Klotzsch, E., Garcia-Fuentes, M., Smith, M.L., Vogel, V., Merkle, H.P., and Meinel, L. (2009) Optimization strategies for electrospun silk fibroin tissue engineering scaffolds. Biomaterials. 30(17):3058-3067.

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