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Professor John Howl

Professor John Howl

Professor of Molecular Pharamcology

  • Email address
  • Phone number 01902 321131
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Institute School of Pharmacy
  • Areas of expertise

    Peptide design and synthesis provides de novo materials for a variety of internal and external research projects. Current efforts are predominantly focused upon the development of bioactive cell penetrating peptides, alternatively named bioportides, for a variety of applications that include both Parkinson’s disease and reproductive endocrinology.

Many of my research efforts have addressed key questions of the molecular pharmacology of receptors and ion channels, particularly those GPCRs which bind peptide hormones and neuropeptides. More recent studies have focussed upon the development of cell penetrating peptides and bioportides. These investigations have necessarily required the development of expertise in a broad repertoire of skills within the related fields of biochemistry and molecular cell biology. 

• Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, University of Wolverhampton, UK.

• Honorary Research Fellow, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, UK

• Director of PanTechnia PLC.

• Elected UK Council Representative of the European Peptide Society.

• Council Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Peptide and Protein Science Group.

• Head of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

• Elected member of the European Peptide Society, American Peptide Society, FASEB, European Neuropeptide Club and Institute of Nanotechnology.

• Member of the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease, LRRK2 Consortium, New York, USA.

• Scientific Advisor to Cambridge Research Biochemicals.

Howl, J. (2005) Editor: Peptide Synthesis and Applications. Humana Press, Totowa, N.J., USA. ISBN: 1-59259-877-3

  • Howl, J. & Jones S (2009) Editors. Bioactive Peptides. CRC Press, Boca Raton, USA. ISBN: 978-1-4200-6114-7



                  Journal articles

  • Foreman, M.A, Gu, Y., Howl, J.D., Jones, S. & Publicover, S.J. (2005) Group III metabotropic glutamate receptor activation inhibits Ca2+ influx and nitric oxide synthase activity in bone marrow stromal cells. J. Cell. Physiol. 204, 704-713.
  • Jones, S., Farquhar, M., Martin, A. & Howl, J. (2005) Intracellular translocation of the decapeptide carboxyl terminal of Gi3α induces the dual phosphorylation of p42/p44 MAP kinases. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1745, 207-214.
  • Jones, S. & Howl, J. (2006) Biological applications of the receptor mimetic peptide mastoparan. Curr. Protein Peptide Sci. 7, 501-508.
  • Baker, R.D., Howl, J. & Nicholl, I.D. (2007) A sychnological cell penetrating peptide mimic of p21WAF1/CIP1 is pro-apoptogenic. Peptides 28, 731-740.
  • Jones, S., Martel,C, Belzacq-Casagrande, A, Brenner, C. & Howl, J. (2008) Mitoparan and target-selective chimeric analogues: membrane translocation and intracellular redistribution induces mitochondrial apoptosis. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1783, 849-863.
  • Farquhar, M.J., Harris, H.J.,  Jones, S., Nielsen, S.U., Brimacombe, C.L., Molina, S., Toms, G.L., Maurel, P.,  Howl, J., van Ijzendoorn, S.V.D., Balfe, P. &  McKeating, J.A. (2008). Protein Kinase A dependent step(s) in Hepatitis C virus entry and infectivity. J. Virol. 82, 8797-8811.
  • Howl, J. & Jones S. (2008) Proteomimetic cell penetrating peptides. Int. J. Pept. Res. Ther. 14, 359-366.
  • Howl, J & Jones S. (2009) Transport molecules using reverse sequence HIV-TAT polypeptides: not just any old Tat? Expert Opin. Therapeutic Patents 19, 1329-1333.
  • Jones, S., Holm, T., Mäger, I., Langel, Ü. & Howl, J. (2010) Characterisation of bioactive cell penetrating peptides from cytochrome c: protein mimicry and the development of a novel apoptogenic agent. Chem. & Biol. 17, 735-744.
  • Jones, S & Howl, J. (2011) Enantiomer-specific bioactivities of peptidomimetic analogues of mastoparan and mitoparan: Characterisation of inverso mastoparan as a highly efficient cell penetrating peptide. Bioconjugate Chem. 23, 47-56.
  • Howl, J. Matou-Nasri, S., West, D.C., Farquhar, M., Slaninová, J., Östenson, C-G., Zorko, M., Östlund, P., Kumar, S., Langel, Ü., McKeating, J. & Jones, S. (2012) Bioportide: An emergent concept of bioactive cell penetrating peptide. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 69, 2951-2966.
  • Eriste, E., Kurrikoff, K., Suhorutšenko, J., Oskolkov, N., Copolovici, D., Jones S., Laakkonen, P., Howl, J. & Langel, Ü. (2012) Peptide-based glioma-specific drug delivery vector. Bioconjugate Chem. 34, 305-313.
  • Jones, S., Lukanowska, M., Suhorutsenko, J., Oxenham, S., Barratt, C., Publicover, S., Copolovici D.M., Langel, Ü. & Howl, J. (2013)Intracellular translocation and differential accumulation of cell penetrating peptides in bovine spermatozoa: Evaluation of efficient delivery vectors that do not compromise human sperm motility. Hum. Reprod.28, 1874-1889.
  • Mehta, A., Shervington, L.,Kurrikoff, K., Howl, J., Jones, S., Langel, Ü. & Shervington, A. (2013) Can sihsp90α/CPP complex concomitant with 17-AAG be a therapy for cancer. FEBS Open Bio.3, 271-278.
  • Lukanowska, M., Howl, J. & Jones, S. (2013) Bioportides: Bioactive Cell Penetrating Peptides that Modulate Cellular Dynamics. Biotechnol. J. 8, 918-930.
  • Howl, J. & Jones S. (2015) Insights into the molecular mechanisms of action of bioportides: a strategy to target protein-protein-interactions. Expert Rev. Mol. Med. In press.
  • Howl, J. & Jones S. (2015) Insights into the molecular mechanisms of action of bioportides: a strategy to target protein-protein-interactions. Expert Rev. Mol. Med. Vol 17, e1.


Invited Research Presentations

  • 30th European Peptide Symposium, Finland 2008.
  • Cell Penetrating Peptides Satellite Symposium, Finland 2008.
  • Cancer Research Centre, Liverpool University, 2009.
  • University of Tartu, Estonia, 2009.
  • Roche Colorado Corporation Peptide Symposium, Keynote Speaker, 2010.
  • Peptide Vectors and Delivery of Therapeutics, Tartu, 2011.
  • Marcus Evans Discovery Summit, Cannes, Keynote Speaker, 2011.
  • Peptide Development and Manufacturing, Berlin, 2011.
  • TIDES. Oligonucleotide and Peptide Research, Technology and Product Development. Las Vegas, 2012.
  • Marcus Evans Drug Discovery Summit, Keynote Speaker, Monte Carlo, March, 2013.
  • 7th Münster Graduate School Meeting, Cell Dynamics and Disease, April, 2013
  • 10th Australian Peptide Symposium, Penang, Malaysia, September, 2013.
  • Liverpool John Moore’s University, February, 2014.
  • University of Westminster, February, 2014


  • Principal Organizer of Cell Penetrating Peptides, a Biochemical Society Focused Meeting, University of Wolverhampton, Telford Campus, May, 2007.
  • Chair of Homing Peptides, a component session of the 30th European Peptide Symposium, Finland, 2008.
  • Chair of Peptide Vectors and Delivery of Therapeutics, Tartu, 2011
  • Organizing Committee Member and Chair, Peptide Development and Manufacturing, Berlin, November, 2011,
  • Principal Organizer of Peptide Therapeutics. Lanzarote, February 2012.
  • Principal Organizer of Cell Penetrating Peptides: Design, Synthesis and Applications. FEBS Special Course, Royal Society, London, 2013.
  • Programme Committee Member of the 2nd and 3nd Annual International Conferences on Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences: Singapore, 2014;  Bangkok, 2015.