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Caitlin A. Howe

Caitlin A. Howe, PhD

Associate Professor

Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy


  • PhD in Human Anatomy - Pennsylvania State University (2017)
  • BS in Kinesiology - James Madison University (2013)

Awards & Honors

  • Mary DeWitt Pettit, MD, Fellowship, WMC-MCP Trust Committee, Drexel University College of Medicine, 2021
  • Medical Educator Award, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, 2020
  • Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, Drexel University College of Medicine, Winner 2020, Nominated 2021
  • APSselect Award, American Physiological Society, 2019
  • Open and Affordable Textbooks (OAT) Award, Rutgers University, 2018
  • Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award, Penn State University, 2017
  • Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award, American Physiological Society, 2017
  • Central Nervous System Van Harreveld Memorial Award for Research, American Physiological Society, 2016

Memberships / Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for Anatomy, 2013 – present
  • American Physiological Society, 2015 – 2017
  • AMSUS, The Society for Federal Health Professionals, 2019

Caitlin Howe, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine. She completed her PhD in anatomy at Penn State College of Medicine. Before arriving at Drexel, she was an instructor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Dr. Howe teaches Gross Anatomy, Embryology, Microanatomy and Neuroscience in the first-year medical courses at Drexel University College of Medicine. In addition to medical courses, she teaches graduate-level Neuroanatomy. Her leadership roles include:

  • Thread director for Gross Anatomy and Embryology in HSFI and HSFII courses at the Queen Lane Campus
  • Co-course director of HSFII
  • Previously the course director for the Summer Human Gross Anatomy course for first-year Arcadia University DPT students

Her recent efforts include creating several resources to supplement the gross anatomy lab, such as dissection videos and imaging.

She is also involved in multiple outreach efforts for military and first responders. This includes coordinating annual events for teams to come to the College of Medicine to learn anatomy and practice lifesaving techniques in the cadaver lab.

Research Interests

Learning strategies and technology in medical education


Dr. Howe's recent research interests include studying the use of innovative classroom approaches and technology in medical education. Recently, she implemented dissection videos in laboratory-based anatomy courses and is studying the feedback, use and the effects on student success after using the videos in the course.

Prior to becoming involved in medical education research, Dr. Howe examined inhibitory GABAergic and glycinergic currents in dorsal motor nucleus of vagus (DMV) nerve neurons of perinatal high-fat-diet rats. Her previous work suggested that perinatal high-fat-diet-fed rats had a prolonged use of glycine in DMV neurons extending into adulthood that contributes to a greater overall inhibitory tone and altered gastric tone and motility. This may contribute to dysregulated parasympathetic vagal control of gastric function, potentially leading to a greater incidence of obesity and associated comorbidities in this population.

In the Media


"Promotion of Cadaver-Based Military Trauma Education: Integration of Civilian and Military Trauma Systems"
Howe CA, Ruane BM, Latham SE, Sahu N
Mil Med. 185(1-2): e23-e27. February 2020

"Perinatal High Fat Diet Alters Development of GABAA Receptor Subunits in the Dorsal Motor Nucleus of the Vagus"
Clyburn C, Howe CA, Arnold A, Lang C, Travagli RA, Browning KN
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 317: G40–G50, May 2019

"High Fat Diet During the Perinatal Period Induces Loss of Myenteric Nitrergic Neurons and Increases Enteric Glial Density, Prior to the Development of Obesity"
McMenamin CA, Clyburn C, Browning KN
Neuroscience. 393:369-380, November 2018

"Perinatal High Fat Diet Increases Inhibition of Dorsal Motor Nucleus of the Vagus Neurons Regulating Gastric Functions"
McMenamin CA, Travagli RA, Browning KN
J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 30(1), January 2018

"Developmental regulation of inhibitory synaptic currents in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus in the rat"
McMenamin CA, Anselmi L, Travagli RA, Browning KN
Journal of Neurophysiol. 116(4):1705-1714, October 2016

"Inhibitory Neurotransmission Regulates Vagal Efferent Activity and Gastric Motility"
McMenamin CA, Travagli RA, Browning KN
Experimental Biology and Medicine. 241(12): 1343-50, June 2016

"Highlights in Basic Autonomic Neurosciences: Diet-induced Enteric, Vagal and Brainstem Dysfunction"
McMenamin CA, Browning KN
Autonomic Neuroscience. 186: 1-4, December 2014

Contact Information

Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
2900 W. Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
Phone: 215.991.8898
Fax: 215.843.9082