• Cromore Road, Coleraine Campus

    BT52 1SA Coleraine

    United Kingdom

  • 2741 Citations
  • 27 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr Andrew McDowell holds a PhD in Biochemistry from Queen’s University, Belfast and joined Ulster University in 2013, where he is currently a lecturer in Molecular Microbiology. He has published widely in the field of medical microbiology (H-index 29, 3814 citations; Google scholar) and is involved in a wide range of international research collaborations, as well as studies with industrial partners. Prior to joining Ulster, Andrew worked at the Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen’s University, Belfast, and the Biological Research Centre, Szeged (European Centre of Excellence). 


Dr McDowell’s research focuses on a number of key themes; understanding human anaerobic cutibacteria in health and disease; prosthetic joint/ bone infections and microbiology related to the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung. He has been awarded significant research funding including grants from Cystic fibrosis Trust, Prostate Cancer UK, Big Lottery, British Skin Foundation, Welcome Trust, and industrial collaborators.

Currently, projects in his laboratory are investigating:

1. The role of cutibacteria infection of the prostate gland as a driver of prostate cancer development.

2. Antibiotic-resistance and severe, recalcitrant acne vulgaris.

3. Bacterial infection and degenerative disc disease.

4. The human microbiome in mental health.

He has expertise in anaerobic bacteriology, biochemistry and molecular biology, including next generation sequencing, microbiomics, functional genomics, bioinformatics and phylogenetic analyses.


Dr McDowell teaches across on-campus and distance learning undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Biomedical Sciences at Ulster University, including the BSc and MSc degree programmes in Personalised Medicine and PgDip in Physician Associate studies. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a registered STEM ambassador regularly giving talks and at Schools and Collages and participating in local STEM events aimed at children from all ages.


Associate Course Director, BSc (Hon) Biomedical Sciences (2020-present)

School of Biomedical Sciences Recruitment and Admissions Committee (2015-present)

Stratified Medicine Industrial Liaison Committee (2013-2020)

Module Coordination

Studies Advisor


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

American Society for Microbiology

Society of Anaerobic Microbiology

Microbiology Society

Clinical Trial of an Investigational Medicinal Product (CTIMP) oversight committee, Queen's University, Belfast (2008-2010)

UK Cystic Fibrosis Microbiology Consortium (2005-2008)

Phd Researcher Profile

Current Students: 

Ms Ailis Stevenson (2020-2023): Investigation of oral and blood microbiome shifts in patients with depression (Department for the Economy) 

Mr Joseph McLaughlin (2017-2020): Metagenomic and culture-based characterisation of Propionibacterium acnes communities in patients with severe recalcitrant papulopustular and nodular acne (British Skin Foundation) 

Current and Recent Grants

British Skin Foundation

Wellcome Trust

Western Health & Social Care Trust R&D Discretionary Fund. 


Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Queens University, Belfast

External positions

BREATH (Border & Regions Airways Training Hub) project affiliate, Queen's University

2018 → …

Editor BMC Microbiology (Clinical Microbiology & Vaccines section)

2014 → …


2013 → …

Editor MDPI Microorganisms

2013 → …

UK Cystic Fibrosis Microbiology Consortium steering committee


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Research Output

Open Access
  • 5 Downloads (Pure)

    Porphyrin Production and Regulation in Cutaneous Propionibacteria

    Barnard, E., Johnson, T., Ngo, T., Arora, U., Leuterio, G., Mc Dowell, A. & Li, H., 15 Jan 2020, In : mSphere. 5, 1, p. 1-10 10 p., e00793-19.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    20 Downloads (Pure)

    A review of microscopy‑based evidence for the association of Propionibacterium acnes biofilms in degenerative disc disease and other diseased human tissue

    Capoor, M. N., Birkenmaier, C., Wang, J. C., Mc Dowell, A., Ahmed, F. S., Bruggemann, H., Coscia, E., Davies, D. G., Ohrt-Nissen, S., Raz, A., Ruzicka, F., Schmitz, J. E., Fischetti, V. A. & Slaby, O., 1 Dec 2019, In : European Spine Journal. 28, 12, p. 2951-2971 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)

    Letter to the Editor concerning “Bacteria: back pain, leg pain and Modic sign: a surgical multicenter comparative study” by Fritzell, P., Welinder‑Olsson, C., Jönsson, B. et al. Eur Spine J (2019)

    Capoor, M. N., Mc Dowell, A., Birkenmaier, C., Ahmed, F. S., Coscia, E., Raz, A.,  Mavrommatis, K., Fischetti, V. A. & Slaby, O., 3 Dec 2019, In : European Spine Journal. p. 1-3 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

    Open Access
    3 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 8 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)


    • 2 Oral presentation
    • 1 Invited talk

    Press / Media

    British Skin Foundation blog

    Andrew Mc Dowell


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Microbiology Society news

    Andrew Mc Dowell


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research

    Ulster University News

    Andrew Mc Dowell


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research

    Good Morning Ulster radio interview

    Andrew Mc Dowell


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research