Andrew E. Ekpenyong, MS, PhD
Andrew E. Ekpenyong, MS, PhD

Andrew E. Ekpenyong, MS, PhD

Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences


  • Medical Physics (didactic and research)
  • Biological Physics
  • Soft Condensed Matter (Complex Systems)

Academic Appointments


  • Physics


  • Assistant Professor

Teaching Activity

  • General Physics for Life Sciences
  • Medical Physics (Radiological Physics, Dosimetry)
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods
  • Quantum Physics


Fr Andrew Ekpenyong joined the Physics Department as a faculty member in 2014. He teaches Quantum Mechanics, General Physics, Nuclear Instruments and Methods, Biological Physics and  Medical Physics courses such as Dosimetry. Fr Andrew also coordinates the undergraduate teaching laboratories. His research is at the interface of physics and biomedicine with a translational focus. For instance, he has developed microfluidic mimetics enabling in vitro modelling of the human pulmonary microcirculation with potential impact on the clinical management of lung diseases and inflammatory disorders. He established and runs the Translational Biomedical Physics Research Group (TBP) (see  A Creighton alumnus, Fr Andrew earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK, and did postdoctoral work at Technische Universität, Dresden, Germany.


  • PhD in physics; University of Cambridge, UK, 2012
  • MS in physics; Creighton University, USA, 2007
  • BD in Theology; Pontifical Urban University, Rome, Italy, 2003
  • BA in Philosophy (focus: philosophy of science), Univ of Uyo, Nigeria, 1998
  • BPhil in Philosophy; Pontifical Urban University, Rome, Italy, 1998


Full Member, American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM)

Publications and Presentations


  • Ekpenyong AE (2007) Basics of Physics for Senior Secondary Schools 3 Vols, Spectrum Books, Ibadan, Nigeria., Spectrum Press, 3, 777, 2007
  • Ekpenyong AE (2005) On the Many Faces of AIDS: Biblical, Medical, and Moral Perspectives on HIV/AIDS. Temavic, Calabar, Nigeria., Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 2005


  • Schurmann, M., Scholze, J., Muller, P., Chan, C. J., Ekpenyong, A. E., Chalut, K. J., Guck, J. Refractive index measurements of single, spherical cells using digital holographic microscopy, Methods in Cell Biology, 125, 143-159, 2015
  • Otto, O., Rosendahl, P., Mietke, A., Golfier, S., Herold, C., Klaue, D., Girardo, S., Pagliara, S., Ekpenyong, A., Jacobi, A., Wobus, M., Topfner, N., Keyser, U. F., . . . Guck, J. Real-time deformability cytometry: on-the-fly cell mechanical phenotyping, Nature Methods, 12, 199-202> 4 p following 202, 2015
  • Ekpenyong AE, N Toepfner, ER Chilvers, J Guck. (2015) Mechan- otransduction in neutrophil activation and deactivation. doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2015.07.015., Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1853:11, 3105-3116, 2015
  • Chan CJ,Ekpenyong AE*, Golfier S, Li W, Chalut KJ, et al. (2015) Myosin II activity softens cells in suspension. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2015.03.009. (Where * indicates co-first author)., Biophysical Journal, 2015
  • Otto O, Rosendahl P, Mietke A, Golfier S, Herold C, Klaue D, Girardo S, Pagliara S, Ekpenyong A, et al.  Real-time deformabil- ity cytometry: on-the-fly cell mechanical phenotyping.  doi:10.1038/nmeth.3281, Nature Methods, 12:3, 199-202, 2015
  • Man SM,Ekpenyong AE*, Tourlomousis T, Achouri S, Cammarota E, et al. (2014) Actin polymerization as a novel innate immune effector mechanism to control Salmonella infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA doi:10.1073/pnas.1419925111. (Where * indicates co-first author)., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2014
  • Holmes D, Whyte G, Bailey J, Vergara-Irigaray N, Ekpenyong AE, et al. (2014) Separation of blood cells with differing deformability using deterministic lateral displacement., Interface Focus, 4:6, 2014
  • Ekpenyong A, Guck J (2014) The Evolution of Mechanical Properties of Differentiating Stem Cells is Fate-and Function-Dependent., Biophysical Journal, 106:2, 42a, 2014
  • Ekpenyong AE, Man SM, Achouri S, Bryant C, Guck J, et al. Bacterial infection of macrophages induces decrease in refractive in- dex. doi:10.1002/jbio.201200113, J Biophotonics, 6:5, 393-397, 2013
  • Boyde L, Ekpenyong A, Whyte G, Guck J. Elastic Theory for the Deformation of a Solid or Layered Spheroid under Axisymmetric Loading., Acta Mechanica, 224:4, 819-839, 2013
  • Ekpenyong AE, Whyte G, Chalut K, Pagliara S, Lautenschlæger F, et al. (2012) Viscoelastic Properties of Differentiating Blood Cells Are Fate- and Function-Dependent. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045237, PLoS One, 7, e45237, 2012
  • Chalut KJ, Ekpenyong AE*, Clegg WL, Melhuish IC, Guck J Quantifying cellular differentiation by physical phenotype using digital holographic microscopy. doi:10.1039/c2ib00129b, Integrative and Comparative Biology, 4, 280-284, 2012
  • Boyde L, Ekpenyong A, Whyte G, Guck J (2012) Comparison of stresses on homogeneous spheroids in the optical stretcher computed with geometrical optics and generalized Lorenz-Mie theory., Applied Optics, 51:33, 7934-7944, 2012
  • Whyte G, Lautenschlæger F, Kreysing M, Boyde L, Ekpenyong A, De- labre U, et al. (2010) Dual-beam laser traps in biology and medicine: when one beam is not enough, SPIE NanoScience and Engineering, 77620G-77620G-6, 2010
  • Jacobs KM, Ding J, Yang LV, Reynolds CL, Ekpenyong AE, Feng Y et al. (2010) Diffraction Imaging Flow Cytometric and 3-D Morpholog- ical Analysis of Three Cell Lines. OSA Technical Digest (CD) paper BTuD44, Biomedical Optics, 2010
  • Ekpenyong AE, Posey CL, Chaput JL, Burkart AK, Marquardt MM, et al.  Determination of cell elasticity through hybrid ray optics and continuum mechanics modeling of cell deformation in the optical stretcher. doi:10.1364/AO.48.006344, Applied Optics, 48, 6344-6354, 2009
  • Jacobs KM, Yang L V., Ding J, Ekpenyong AE, Castellone R, et al. (2009) Diffraction imaging of spheres and melanoma cells with a microscope objective. doi:10.1002/jbio.200910044, J Biophotonics, 2, 521-527, 2009
  • Ekpenyong AE, Ding J, Yang L V., Leffler NR, Lu JQ, et al. (2009) Study of 3D cell morphology and effect on light scattering distribution. doi:10.1117/12.831510, Proceedings of SPIE, 7367, 1J-7, 2009
  • Ekpenyong, Andrew E, (2004) World Year of Physics 2005 and the Planetary Emergencies in Proceedings of the 45th Annual Conference of the Science Teachers’ Association of Nigeria, ed. Matthias Akale, Heinemann Books, Ibadan, Nigeria., Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, Paper 37, 192-196, 2004


  • Ekpenyong AE, Chalut K, Whyte G, Guck J. (2011) Optical stretching and digital holography quantify physical phenotypes of differentiating cells. Institute of Physics, Quantitative Methods in Gene Regulation, London., Institute of Physics, Qantitative Methods in Gene Regulation, 2011
  • Ekpenyong, AE, and MG Nichols. (2007) Hybrid Ray Optics and Continuum Mechanics Modeling of Cell Deformation in the Optical Stretcher. in Frontiers in Optics 2007/Laser Science XXIII/Organic Materials and Devices for Displays and Energy Conversion. Optical Society of America, Washington, DC.JWC11., Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 2007


  • Sruti Prathivadhi, Carolyn Taylor, Jianhao Ning, Michael Nichols, Andrew Ekpenyong, Effects of chemotherapy-induced alterations in cell mechanical properties on cancer metastasis. Annual Meeting, American Physical Society, Maryland,, 2016
  • Sruti Prathivadhi, Carolyn Taylor, Jianhao Ning, Michael Nichols, Andrew Ekpenyong. Cell mechanical properties and cancer metastasis: effects of cancer drugs and radiotherapy. Annual Meeting, Biophysical Society of America, Los Angeles, 2016
  • Carolyn Taylor, Sruti Prathivadhi, Jianhao Ning, Michael Nichols, Andrew Ekpenyong. Microfluidic devices for biomechanical assessment of metastatic effects of cancer drugs. Global Health Conference-Midwest, Omaha,, 2016
  • Sruti Prathivadhi, Michael Nichols, Nathan Pennington, Andrew Ekpenyong. Mathematically Modeling Cancer Metastasis through Mechanical Properties Detected by a Microfluidic Microcirculation Mimetic Device. National MAA MathFest Conference in Washington D.C.,, 2015
  • Ekpenyong, AE, Whyte, GB, Chalut, KJ, Pagliara, S, Guck, JR, et al. Contributions of actin and myosin to creep compliance of blood stem cells during differentiation. Optical Trapping and Optical Micro- manipulation X, SPIE NanoScience and Engineering. 28 Aug 2013, San Diego, USA., 2013
  • Ekpenyong, AE, Schuermann, M, Man, SM, Achouri, S, Guck, J, et al. Monitoring cell differentiation and infection using Digital Holographic Microscopy. European Conferences on Biomedical Optics (ECBO). 12 May, 2013, Munich, Germany., 2013
  • Ekpenyong, AE, Whyte, GB, Lautenschlaeger, F, Guck, JR, et al.Viscoelastic properties of differentiating blood stem cells evolve to suit their func- tions. Spring Meeting of the German Physical Society (DPG). 15 March 2013, Regensburg, Germany., 2013
  • Ekpenyong, AE, Guck, JR, et al. Viscoelastic properties of differenti- ating cells evolve to meet tissue-specific functions Dynamics of Tissues and Multicellular Systems. 14 Dec 2012, Leipzig, Germany., 2012
  • Ekpenyong, AE,Whyte, GB, Chilvers, ER, Guck, JR, et al. Fate- and function-dependent evolution of cellular mechanical properties during myeloid haematopoiesis. 4th International Congress on Stem Cells and Tissue Formation. 20 July 2012, Dresden, Germany., 2012

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Almost all the vital signs are biophysical properties: blood pressure, pulse rate, body temperature, etc. With collaborators from the Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, the School of Medicine, Creighton University, as well as international collaborators in the UK and Germany, I develop and use novel biophysical tools to discover new biomarkers that provide diagnostic information and new therapeutic options. I address the physician’s wish list in order to improve disease diagnosis, patient monitoring, drug development and testing, etc. While these efforts seek to improve biomedicine using principles and tools of physics, I also aim at advancing the physics of complex systems such as living matter. In particular, I seek to understand how biological cells function as mechanical units, with material properties.

Current Research Projects

  • 1. The Physics of Cancer: role of cell mechanics in metastasis. 2. Impact of radiotherapy on cell mechanical properties. 3. Cellular response to gravity and microgravity. 4. Impact of chemotherapy on cell mechanical properties. 5. In vitro modelling of microcirculation for clinical studies involving COPD, sepsis, ARDS, ALI and Sickle Cell Anaemia.