Howard Crawford, PhD

Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor, Internal Medicine


Dr. Crawford received his PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from the Genetics and Development Program. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University, he began his career as a principal investigator at Stony Brook University in 2003. He moved to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida in 2011 where he served as the Assistant Dean of the Mayo Graduate School. He moved to the University of Michigan in 2015 as a Professor in the Departments of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Internal Medicine and is the Director of the Pancreas Research Program.

Research Interests

Research in the Crawford laboratory is focused on the cell and molecular origins of pancreatic cancer and how chronic inflammation of the pancreas leads to pancreatic cancer development. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death and is on track to become the second by 2018. Our lab explores the crosstalk between cancer and immune cells and how it induces the cellular plasticity that leads to resistance to therapy and promotes metastasis. The lab also examines what makes pancreatic cancer uniquely deadly by dissecting the roles of pathways that confer pancreatic identity during organ development and are usurped to promote tumor aggressiveness.