Rae M. Robertson Anderson, PhD

Rae M. Robertson Anderson
Phone: (619) 260-8867
Fax: (619) 260-6874
Office: Shiley Ctr for Science & Techn 279

Chair and Associate Professor

  • BS, Physics, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude, Georgetown University (2003); supported by Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Scholarship.
  • PhD, Physics, University of California, San Diego, (2007); supported by National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute; supported by National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Dr. Rae Robertson-Anderson received her BS in Physics from Georgetown University in 2003, where she was awarded a Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship to conduct research on transport properties in driven granular matter. She received her PhD in Physics from UCSD in 2007, funded by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Her doctoral work focused on elucidating controversial concepts in polymer physics by pioneering new molecular-level techniques and engineering DNA for use as a model polymer system. Robertson-Anderson completed an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at The Scripps Research Institute. There, she used single-molecule microscopy techniques to map the binding kinetics and pathways of HIV-1 regulatory proteins. Robertson-Anderson joined the Department of Physics and Biophysics at University of San Diego in 2009.

Scholarly Work

Since her initial appointment at University of San Diego in 2009, Robertson-Anderson has established an internationally-recognized research program to study the molecular-level mechanics and transport properties of biopolymer networks and soft matter systems. Her lab develops new optical tweezers “microrheology” and fluorescence microscopy techniques to probe these systems over a wide range of length and time scales. Her lab also engineers new in vitro biopolymer systems to address critical questions in soft matter physics. Robertson-Anderson has received over $3.5M in grants to support this research, including an NSF CAREER Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Program Award, and a W.M Keck Research Grant.

Areas of Interest

Robertson-Anderson is passionate about undergraduate research and education. She joined USD with the express intention of engaging undergraduates in cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and shaping the undergraduate physics curriculum at a national level. She established a research-intensive Biophysics Major at USD that has served as a model for liberal arts institutions across the country. She serves as a Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research, and her research publications include 14 undergraduate co-authors. Her research students have received prestigious awards including Goldwater Scholarships, NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, and an APS LeRoy Apker Award. They have also presented over 25 research presentations at national conferences.