The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Please select the first letter of the last name you are looking for.

Jennifer L. Ross


Research areas include cytoskeleton, Axonal transport, and mitosis.

Current Research
The Ross Lab studies how the microtubule cytoskeleton organizes the interior of living cells. Cells completely remodel their interior structures during cell division and differentiation - both vital processes for organismal development, maturation, and maintenance. Due to this fact, microtubules and their associated proteins are obvious and highly sought targets for drugs to treat cancer, neuropathies, ciliopathies, and others. The microtubule cytoskeleton has two roles in this process: first the microtubule network itself is a mechanical structure that supports the shape and organization within cells, second microtubules are the tracks used for long-distance intracellular transport by molecular motor proteins that move organelles and protein cargos in the cell.

Correct microtubule organization is essential to many cellular processes: cell division, neuronal cell development, differentiation, and maintenance, plant cell cellulose deposition, and ciliary beating in the lungs, kidneys, and intestines. Failure to create the correct microtubule network in these processes results in cancer and birth defects, brain abnormalities and neuromuscular diseases, fragile plants, tumors and cell death. We use bottom-up reconstitution techniques and cutting-edge super-resolution single molecule imaging to systematically dissect the underlying physical principles governing microtubule organization to address this large number of essential cellular processes.

Learn more at 

Academic Background

  • BA Wellesley College, 2000
  • PhD University of California, Santa Barbara, 2004
S. Advani, T.J. Maresca, J.L. Ross, "Creation and testing of a new, local microtubule-disruption tool based on the microtubule-severing enzyme, katanin p60,"Cytoskeleton, 55, pp 531-544 (2019).
J.L. Ross, "Autonomous materials from biomimicry," MRS Bulletin, 44, pp 119-123 (2019).
J.L. Ross, "Autonomous materials from biomimicry," MRS Bulletin, 44, pp 119-123 (2019).
L. Belonogov, M.E. Bailey, M.A. Tyler, A. Kazemi, J.L. Ross "Katanin Catalyzes Microtubule Depolymerization Independently of Tubulin C‐ Terminal Tails," Cytoskeleton 76, 3, pp 254-268 (2019).
B. Edozie, S. Sahu, M. Pitta, C. Fermino Do Rosario, A. Englert, J.L. Ross, “Self-Organization of Spindle-Like Microtubule Structures,” Soft Matter 15, pp 4797-4807 (2019).
L. Szatkowski, D.R. Merz, N. Jiang, I. Ejikeme, L. Belonogov, J.L. Ross, R.I. Dima, "Mechanics of the Microtubule Seam Interface Probed by Molecular Simulations and in Vitro Severing Experiments" accepted at Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2019).
M. Xu, L. Valdez, A. Sen, J.L. Ross, “Direct Single Molecule Imaging of Enhanced Enzyme Diffusion,” accepted for publication at Physical Review Letters (2019).
C.C. Homyak, A. Fernandez, M.A. Touve, B. Zhao, F. Anson, J.A. Hardy, R. Vachet, N.C. Gianneschi, J.L. Ross, S. Thayumanavan, “Lipogels for Encapsulation of Hydrophilic Proteins and Hydrophobic Small Molecules,” Biomacromolecules, 19 (1), pp 132–140, (2018)
R. Zhang, N. Kumar, J.L. Ross, M.L. Gardel, J.J. de Pablo, “Interplay of Structure, Elasticity and Dynamics in Actin-Based Nematic Materials,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 115, (2), 124-133 (2018).
B. Harris, J.L. Ross, T.L. Hawkins, "Microtubule Seams are not Mechanically Weak Defects,"Physical Review E. 97, 062408 (2018).
L. Farhadi, C. Fermino do Rosario, E.P. Debold, A. Baskaran, J.L. Ross, "Composite Polymer Active Matter,"Frontiers in Physics. July 30 (2018).
S.N. Ricketts, J.L. Ross, R.M. Robertson-Anderson, “Co-entangled actin-microtubule composites exhibit tunable stress stiffening and biphasic power-law relaxation,” Biophysical Journal 115, (6), 1055-1067 (2018).
K. Nordstrom, J. Conrad, K. Daniels, J.L. Ross, "For SHE’s a Jolly Good Fellow?" BACK PAGE of the APS News, April 2018
L. Atkins, S.K. Bur, J.D. Gilbertson, D. Kosenkov, J.L. Ross, S.B. Sigmann, “Continuum of Labs,” chapter from the workshop report on Expanding the CURE Model: Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience, Eds. Rory Waterman and Jennifer Heemstra, Research Corporation for Science Advancement (2018).
Contact Info

Department of Physics
Hasbrouck 302
666 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003

(413) 545-2399