Jonathon Howard, the newly appointed Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, is a biophysicist who is interested in the morphology and motility of cells.
In his research, Howard strives to answer the question of how small molecules like proteins, lipids, and nucleotides self-assemble into cells and tissues that are millions of times larger than molecular dimensions. He is particularly interested in the microtubule-based cytoskeleton, a network of filaments that provides structural support to cells and that serves as tracks for motor proteins to move cargoes from one part of the cell to another. By using sensitive techniques to visualize and manipulate individual biological molecules, the Yale scientist is trying to understand the interaction rules that allow molecules to work together to form dynamic, yet highly organized, cellular structures.
Before coming to Yale in 2013, Howard was director and group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology & Genetics for 13 years. He held several faculty positions at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1989 to 2001, including professor of physiology and biophysics (1997-2001).
Howard received his B.Sc. and his Ph.D. from the Australian National University. His honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1990) and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1996). He has delivered invited lectures in Paris, Vienna, and London, among others. His professional activities include chairing the Scientific Council Board of the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center in Osaka/Kobe and serving on the editorial boards of BMC Biophysics and Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Biophysical Society, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and the Max Planck Society, among others.