Conor Howard

Conor is a protein biochemist and molecular biologist by training. He is currently employing Octant's multiplex capabilities toward the optimizing and scaling of our Deep Mutational Scanning (DMS) approach, with the goal of harnessing this technology as a tool for rational genetics- and structure-driven drug design.

Conor received his PhD from the University of California, San Francisco in the lab of Adam Frost. There he worked on the biochemical and structural determinants of Ribosome-associated Quality Control (RQC). Prior to this he did his undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, where he worked under Liam Holt studying the evolutionary plasticity of kinase specificity and poly-glutamine repeat expansions in yeast. Before graduate school Conor also spent some time at the University of Copenhagen in Rune Linding's lab studying the proteomic effects of cancer therapies. Conor thrives working at the intersection of many disciplines and is fascinated with how biology emerged in the universe. He believes mechanistic dissection of molecules in the context of mutational plasticity can help tackle some of the most complex problems in biology and disease.

Outside of work you'll find Conor traveling, skiing, scouting new breweries, playing tennis, experimenting with hot sauce recipes, and exploring unusual agave spirits.


Ribosome-associated quality control and CAT tailing. Howard CJ, Frost A (2021). Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Phosphoregulation of phase separation by the SARS-CoV-2 N Protein suggests a biophysical basis for its dual functions. Carlson CR*, Asfaha JB*, Ghent CM*, Howard CJ, Hartooni N, Safari M, Frankel AD, Morgan DO (2020). Molecular Cell.

Rapid deployment of SARS-CoV-2 testing: The CLIAHUB. Crawford ED, et al. (2020). PLoS Pathogens.

Vms1p is a release factor for the Ribosome-associated Quality control Complex. Rendon OZ*, Fredrickson EK*, Howard CJ*, Vranken JV, Fogarty S, Tolley ND, Kalia R, Osuna BA, Shen PS, Hill CP, Frost A, Rutter J (2018). Nature Communications.

Intrinsic cooperativity potentiates parallel cis-regulatory evolution. Sorrells TR, Johnson AN, Howard CJ, Britton CS, Fowler KR, Feigerle, JT, Weil PA, Johnson AD (2018). eLife.

CDKL family kinases have evolved distinct structural features and ciliary function. Canning P, Park K, Goncalves J, Li C, Howard CJ, Sharpe TD, Holt LJ, Pelletier L, Bullock AN, Leroux MR (2018). Cell Reports.

In vitro analysis of RQC activities provides insights into the mechanism and function of CAT tailing. Osuna BA, Howard CJ, Subheksha KC, Frost AS, Weinberg DE (2017). eLife.

Ancestral resurrection reveals evolutionary mechanisms of kinase plasticity. Howard CJ*, Hanson-Smith V*, Kennedy KJ, Miller CJ, Lou HJ, Johnson AD, Turk BE, Holt LJ (2014). eLife.

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