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Martin Howard


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Personal profile


  • 1990-1993 BA Physics (1st class) Merton College, Oxford University
  • 1993-1996 D. Phil Theoretical Physics, Oxford University
  • 1996-1998 Postdoctoral Fellow, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 1998-1999 Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA
  • 1999-2001 Postdoctoral Fellow, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2001-2002 Postdoctoral Fellow, Leiden University, The Netherlands
  • 2002- Royal Society University Research Fellow
  • 2002-2007 Lecturer & Reader, Dept of Mathematics, Imperial College London
  • 2007- Project Leader, Dept of Systems Biology, John Innes Centre
  • 2007- Honorary Professor, School of Computing Sciences, University of East Anglia 

Key Research Interests and Expertise

My research is centred on the rapidly developing field of systems biology, where I model biological systems at a variety of scales ranging from subcellular up to the level of embryonic development. My core interest is in uncovering complex dynamics even in systems with few components and apparently simple interactions. I am especially interested in biological systems exhibiting pattern-forming behaviour. These systems can be hard to understand intuitively and therefore a modelling approach is often vital. My approach is highly interdisciplinary, and relies heavily on the techniques of statistical physics, as well as close collaboration with experimental groups. Current topics under active investigation include spatiotemporal protein dynamics in bacteria, including the Min and Par systems, cell division positioning in fission yeast, modelling fluctuations in morphogen gradients, models of cell cycle signal transduction, focusing on the spindle assembly checkpoint, the dynamics of phagocytosis, and models of epigenetic regulation.

Selected Publications

F. Tostevin, P. Rein ten Wolde and M. Howard:
Fundamental limits to position determination by concentration gradients
PLoS Comput. Biol. 3 e78 (2007)

N. Padte, S. Martin, M. Howard and F. Chang:
The cell-end factor Pom1p inhibits Mid1p in specification of the cell division plane in fission yeast
Curr. Biol. 16 2480-2487 (2006)

R. Sear and M. Howard:
Modeling dual pathways for the metazoan spindle assembly checkpoint
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 103 16758-16763 (2006)

M. Howard and P. Rein ten Wolde:
Finding the center reliably: robust patterns of developmental gene expression
Phys. Rev. Lett. 95 208103 (2005)

K. Doubrovinski and M. Howard:
Stochastic model for Soj relocation dynamics in Bacillus subtilis
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 102 9808-9813 (2005)

M. Howard and A. Rutenberg:
Pattern formation inside bacteria: fluctuations due to the low copy number of proteins
Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 128102 (2003)

M. Howard, A. Rutenberg and S. de Vet:
Dynamic compartmentalization of bacteria: accurate division in E. coli
Phys. Rev. Lett. 87 278102 (2001)