Professor Rowan studied at the University of Liverpool and obtained his first class honours in chemistry and was awarded the Leverlhulme Medal. He obtained his PhD degree at the same university working on the self-assembly of chlorophylls. He subsequently worked for two years in New Zealand with prof Chris Hunter in the area of catenane and rotaxane self-assembly. He returned to Europe as a Marie-curie Fellow to work with Prof Roeland Nolte at the University of Nijmegen the Netherlands, where he continued research in functional supramolecular assemblies. He stayed in Nijmegen and became fully professor in 2005, where he has established a new group in molecular materials, studying the relationship between molecular assembly and functional properties. In January 2016 he left the Netherlands and became Director of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia.
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 and more recently the development of the first truly biomimetic hydrogel which mimics the mechanic and functional properties of the extracellular membrane.
He was awarded the RSC Soft Matter and Biophysics Prize in 2014 and in April 2016 he was honored with an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship in the area mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix and its influence on cell behavior, combining the fields of soft matter and responsive materials. He has had the pleasure of supervising more than 55 PhD students who have received their doctoral degree and together has published more than 300 publications with over 13,500 citations (h index 65), including 13 high-impact publications in Nature, Science, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, and Nature Chemistry.
Professor Rowan was in 2013 shortlisted as one of the Netherlands science entrepreneurs of the year. This nomination was in recognition of his strong desire to apply his science for the public good. In the last three years he has been awarded 9 patents in the area of nanomedicine, and has been involved in the startup of three companies Encapson, Noviotech, Noviosense.