• Cromore Road, Coleraine Campus

    BT52 1SA Coleraine

    United Kingdom

  • 2506 Citations
  • 25 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr Andrew McDowell graduated from Queens University, Belfast (QUB) with a BSc (Hons) degree and PhD in Biochemistry. He then undertook post-doctoral studies in molecular medical microbiology within the School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at QUB (Centre of Infection & Immunity), as well as the Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szeged (European Centre of Excellence).

He was appointed as a Lecturer in Stratified Medicine at Ulster University in 2013. Dr McDowell is also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the School of Pharmacy at QUB, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr McDowell has published widely and is an editor for the journals PLOSONE and BMC Microbiology (Clinical Microbiology and Vaccines section), and is on the advisory board of the post-publication peer review journal Sci. He has secured significant grant funding as PI, and has a wide network of collaborators at both the national and international level, and established links with industry.

Research Interests

Dr McDowell’s research focuses on the role of the human microbiota and microbiome in health and disease, an area now at the forefront of personalised medicine.

He has a particular interest in the role of infection in the development of cancer, and with support from Prostate Cancer UK he has established a programme of research into the role of the endogenous anaerobic bacterium Propionibacterium acnes in the development of prostate disease, with the goal of identifying new therapeutic pathways to reduce prostate cancer incidence in men. More recently, with funding from the British Skin Foundation, he has also been investigating the role of multi-antibiotic resistant strains of P. acnes in the development of ‘super-acne’, and investigating novel non-antibiotic approaches to treatment.

Dr McDowell also collaborates with other members of the Stratified Medicine team in relation to the role of the human microbiome in cardiovascular disease and mental health (depression). He has expertise in anaerobic bacteriology, biochemistry and molecular biology, including next generation sequencing, microbiomics, functional genomics, bioinformatics and phylogenetic analyses.

Teaching Interests

Dr McDowell teaches widely on the Stratified Medicine BSc and MSc degree programmes. He is module coordinator for the undergraduate module Genetic Inheritance and Omic Technologies (BIO124) and the postgraduate module Stratified Medicine and Healthcare Innovation (BIO832).

Oral conference and seminar presentations

Annual Microbiology Society Conference, Birmingham, UK (12th April, 2018). The potential role of the anaerobic bacterium Propionibacterium acnes in the aetiology of prostate cancer. 

Society for Anaerobic Microbiology, London. UK (2nd December 2013). Could Propionibacterium acnes infection of the prostate gland be an important, modifiable risk-factor for prostate cancer?

Stiefel (GlaxoSmithKline), North Carolina, USA (19th March 2013). Has population genetic analysis breathed new life into acne research?

David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA (15th March 2013). Propionibacterium acnes as an underestimated cause of human disease.

University of Washington Medical Centre, Seattle, USA (13th March 2013). Laboratory Medicine Grand Rounds Lecture: Propionibacterium acnes as an underestimated cause of human disease.

Prostate Cancer UK, London (14th September, 2012). Understanding the role of bacteria in the aetiology of prostate cancer.

European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), London, (2nd April 2012). Symposium speaker: The Paradox of Propionibacterium acnes: benign commensal and virulent pathogen.

Administrative Roles

Dr McDowell also coordinates the marketing activities of Stratified Medicine and is a member of the School of Biomedical Sciences School Recruitment and Marketing Committee.

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Research Output

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
  • 10 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
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    5 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
    1 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)


    Towards a personalised medicine strategy to reduce prostate cancer risk in men

    Author: Yankova, E., May 2018

    Supervisor: Mc Dowell, A. (Supervisor) & Gibson, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis