William Huang

William Huang

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Research Interests: Physical principles of biochemical signaling; membrane signal transduction; single-molecule imaging, spectroscopy, and assays

Education: PhD, University of California, Berkeley

William Y. C. Huang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biophysics at Johns Hopkins University. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from National Taiwan University in 2010, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016 in the laboratory of Dr. Jay Groves. He then expanded his research as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University in the laboratory of Dr. James Ferrell from 2018-2023.

Dr. Huang is primarily interested in elucidating the principles of how biochemical reactions function in living systems, especially reactions that occur on biological membranes. He has developed extensive imaging-based membrane assays that map complex signaling processes into quantifiable reconstituted systems, oftentimes revealing unexpected dynamic characteristics unique to membrane signaling configurations. Dr. Huang’s awards include an NIH Pathway to Independence Award.

Research interests in the Huang laboratory broadly encompass the chemistry and biology of biochemical reaction systems. In living cells, biochemical reactions exhibit elaborate spatial and temporal patterns that define the hallmarks of living entities. The chemistry underlying these reactions constrains biological evolution and gives rise to network properties that enable robust biological functions. Reactions at the cell membrane exemplify such exquisite regulation - the coupling with a surface introduces additional layers of coordination that are generally absent in solution biochemistry.

The Huang laboratory explores this theme in the case of signal transduction, the process by which living systems integrate information. The research approach combines optical methods, including single-molecule imaging and spectroscopy, and kinetic modeling to analyze biochemically reconstituted systems and living cells. The natural integration between physical methods and biochemistry and cell biology stimulates the invention of imaging tools and assays that advance the degree to which complex signaling processes can be resolved in real time. With the advent of quantitative descriptions of signal transduction, the overarching goal is to formulate general principles governing biochemical processes in living systems.

View William Huang's complete publications on Google Scholar.

Selected Publications:

Membrane localization accelerates association under conditions relevant to cellular signaling. WYC Huang, SG Boxer, JE Ferrell. bioRxiv 2022.

Cytoplasmic organization promotes protein diffusion in Xenopus extracts. WYC Huang, X Cheng, JE Ferrell Jr. Nature Communications 2022, 13 (1), 5599.

Relating cellular signaling timescales to single-molecule kinetics: A first-passage time analysis of Ras activation by SOS. WYC Huang, S Alvarez, Y Kondo, J Kuriyan, JT Groves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2021, 118 (45), e2103598118.

A molecular assembly phase transition and kinetic proofreading modulate Ras activation by SOS. WYC Huang, S Alvarez, Y Kondo, YK Lee, JK Chung, HYM Lam, KH Biswas, J Kuriyan, JT Groves. Science 2019, 363 (6431), 1098-1103.

Phosphotyrosine-mediated LAT assembly on membranes drives kinetic bifurcation in recruitment dynamics of the Ras activator SOS. WYC Huang, Q Yan, WC Lin, JK Chung, SD Hansen, SM Christensen, HL Tu, J Kuriyan, JT Groves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2016, 113 (29), 8218-8223.