John  Higgins

John Higgins

Professor of Systems Biology

The Higgins lab combines medical insight, dynamic systems theory, and experiments utilizing microfluidics, video processing, flow cytometry, simulation, and large-scale analysis of medical databases to measure and model the dynamics of human pathophysiologic processes.

Massachusetts General Hospital
Center for Systems Biology
185 Cambridge St
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-643-6129

Lab Size: Between 5 and 10


My research focuses on human pathophysiologic processes. I am interested in developing mathematical descriptions of complex human disease phenotypes and how they change over time. Pathophysiology may be described at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organismal levels and may show clinically significant variation over time scales ranging from seconds to years. My research combines clinical and pathophysiologic insight with dynamical systems theory in order to (1) advance fundamental understanding of the dynamics of human pathophysiology, and (2) improve patient diagnosis, monitoring, and treatments.


Wood DK, Soriano A, Mahadevan L, Higgins JM, Bhatia SN A Biophysical Indicator of Vaso-occlusive Risk in Sickle Cell Disease.
Sci Transl Med. 2012;4(123):123ra26 - PMID: 22378926 - PMCID: PMC3633235

Higgins JM and Mahadevan L. Physiological and pathological population dynamics of circulating human red blood cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107, 20587-20592 (2010).

Higgins JM, Eddington DT, Bhatia S, Mahadevan L. Statistical Dynamics of Flowing Red Blood Cells by Morphological Image Processing. PLoS Computational Biology 2009 Feb;5(2):e1000288.

Higgins JM and Sloan SR. Stochastic Modeling of Human RBC Alloimmunization: Evidence for a Distinct Population of Immunologic Responders. Blood. 2008 Sep 15; 112( 6): 2546-53. [See Blood editorial commentary:
Blood 2008 Sep 15;112(2):2180-1.]

Higgins JM, Eddington DT, Bhatia SN, Mahadevan L. Sickle cell vaso-occlusion and rescue in a microfluidic device. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104, 20496-20500 (2007). [See commentary in Science Editors' Choice: Science. 2007 Dec 14; 318(5857): 1699.]