• Cromore Road, Coleraine Campus

    BT52 1SA Coleraine

    United Kingdom


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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 30, 4115 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). 

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 the McDowell laboratory are investigating:

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

2. The human microbiome in brain health.

3. The role of the genitourinary microbiome in prostate cancer. 

4. Low-grade bacterial infection as a driver of degenerative disc disease.

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. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Queens University, Belfast

External positions

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

2018 → …

Editor BMC Microbiology (Clinical Microbiology & Vaccines section)

2014 → …


2013 → …

Editor Microorganisms

2013 → …

UK Cystic Fibrosis Microbiology Consortium steering committee



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