Joe Howard, PhD

Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Professor of Physics; co-Director, Quantitative Biology Institute

Departments & Organizations

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Swartz Program in Theoretical Neurobiology

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Biochemistry, Quantitative Biology, Biophysics and Structural Biology (BQBS) | Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics and Development | Neuroscience

Office of Cooperative Research


Jonathon (Joe) Howard is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and a Professor of Physics at Yale University. He is best known for his research on motor proteins and the cytoskeleton, and the development of techniques for observing and manipulating individual biological molecules. Brought up in Australia, where he studied at the Australian National University, he has had a distinguished career in the United States—he was a professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle—and in Germany, where he played a key role, as Director, in establishing the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, one of the most successful research institutes in Europe. In 2013 he returned to the United States where he enjoys teaching, writing and new research projects on cell motility and neuronal morphology.

Education & Training

PhD Australian National Univ, Neurobiology (1983)
BS Australian National Univ, Mathematics (1979)
Postdoctoral Fellow University of California, San Francisco
Postdoctoral Fellow University of Bristol

Honors & Recognition

  • FellowBiophysical Society (2016)

  • External MemberMax Planck Society, Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (2016)

  • Pioneer AwardNational Institutes of Health (2015)

  • Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics & BiochemistryYale University (2013)

  • Timoshenko FellowMechanical Engineering, Stanford University (2008)

  • MemberEuropean Molecular Biology Organization (2004)

  • Scientific MemberMax Planck Society, Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (2000, 2014)

  • MERIT AwardNational Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases (2000)

  • FellowJohn Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1996)

  • Pew Scholar in the Biomedical SciencesPew Charitable Trusts (1990)

  • Sloan Research FellowAlfred P. Sloan Foundation (1990)

  • Australian National Undergraduate ScholarAustralian National University (1976)

Professional Service

  • Center for Mechanobiology, Singapore (2015 - Present) Review Panel, Chair

  • Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden, Dresden University of Technology (2013 - Present) Scientific Advisory Board, Member

  • RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center (QBiC), Kobe/Osaka, Japan (2013 - 2017) Advisory Council, Chair

  • RIKEN, Wako, Japan (2013 - Present) RIKEN Advisory Council, Member


  • Alan J. Hunt Memorial Lecture Ann Arbor, United States (2015 - 2015)

  • Woods Hole Physiology Course Falmouth, United States (2015 - 2015)

  • Bragg Lecture Cambridge, United Kingdom (2014 - 2014)

  • Arthur K. Parpart Endowed Lecture Falmouth, United States (2014 - 2014)

  • Poincaré Seminar Paris, France (2009 - 2009)

  • George A. Feigen Memorial Lecture Stanford, United States (2006 - 2006)

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Contact Info

Joe Howard, PhD
Office Location
Bass Center
266 Whitney Avenue, Ste Room 334

New Haven, CT 06511
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Mailing Address
Molecular Biophysics and BiochemistryP.O. Box 208114
266 Whitney Ave

New Haven, CT 06520-8114

Curriculum Vitae

Howard Lab