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Joe Howard, PhD

Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Professor of Physics

Contact Information

Joe Howard, PhD

Lab Location

  • Sterling Hall of Medicine
    333 Cedar Street, Wing C, Fl 1, Rm SHM C-130
    New Haven, CT 06510
    Business Office:203.432.5587

Office Location

  • Sterling Hall of Medicine
    333 Cedar Street, Wing C, Fl 1, Rm SHM C-130A
    New Haven, CT 06510

Mailing Address

  • Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

    P.O. Box 208024

    New Haven, CT 06520-8024

    United States



Jonathon (Joe) Howard is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, a Professor of Physics, and a member of the Quantitative Biology Institute at Yale University. He is best known for his research on the mechanical properties of motor proteins and the cytoskeleton, and the development of techniques for observing, measuring and manipulating individual biological molecules. His group studies several cellular systems in which force and motion play key roles, including the motility of cilia, and the branching of developing neurons.

Brought up in Australia, where he studied mathematics and neurobiology at the Australian National University, Professor Howard was a professor at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle, a founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, before moving to Yale 2013 where he enjoys new research projects and teaching.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    University of California, San Francisco (1987)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    University of Bristol (1985)
  • PhD
    Australian National University, Neurobiology (1983)
  • BSc (Hon)
    Australian National University, Mathematics (1979)


  • Dendrite branching morphogenesis: Dynamics and scaling laws
    Titisee-Neustadt, BW, Germany 2022
    Invited Lecture: Space, Time, and Life, 124th Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Titisee Conference
  • Scaling laws of branching morphogenesis in neuronal dendrites
    Bengaluru, KA, India 2020
    Invited Lecture: International Center for Theoretical Science
  • Molecular Motors: Nature's Tiniest Protein Machines
    Budapest, Hungary 2019
    KeyNote Lecture: Semmelweis University 250th Anniversary
  • Physical Energetics of the cell
    Brussels, Brussels, Belgium 2017
    Invited Lecture: 27th Solvay Conference on Physics

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
FellowBiophysical Society2016
External MemberMax Planck Society, Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems2016
Pioneer AwardNational Institutes of Health2015
Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics & BiochemistryYale University2013
MemberEuropean Molecular Biology Organization2004
Scientific MemberMax Planck Society, Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics2000, 2014
MERIT AwardNational Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases2000
FellowJohn Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation1996
Pew Scholar in the Biomedical SciencesPew Charitable Trusts1990
Sloan Research FellowAlfred P. Sloan Foundation1990
Australian National Undergraduate ScholarAustralian National University1976

Professional Service

American Association for the Advancement of ScienceMember2023 - 2024
Biophysical JournalAssociate Editor2022 - Present
Organizer: Mechanobiology down underCo-Chair2018
Physics of Life, Dresden University of Technology, GermanyMember2017 - 2024
Organizer: Microscopy at YaleCo-Chair2017
NIH Study Section (MSFC)MFSC Study Section, Member2016 - 2021
Mechanobiology Institute Review Panel, SingaporeChair2016
Institute for the Physics of Living Systems, University College London, UKMember2015 - 2020
RIKEN Advisory Council, RIKEN, Japan9th, 11th, 12th RAC, Member2013 - 2023
Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden, Dresden University of Technology, GermanyScientific Advisory Board, Member2013 - 2019
RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center (QBiC), RIKEN, Japan9th, 11th and 12th RAC2013 - 2017
American Physical SocietyMember2000 - 2024
American Society for Cell BiologyMember1990 - 2024
Biophysical SocietyMember1988 - 2024

Departments & Organizations