Microbicide Trials Network

Ian McGowan, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P.

Ian McGowan, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P., is a professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition with a joint appointment in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. McGowan, together with Sharon L. Hillier, Ph.D., is principal investigator of the University of Pittsburgh-based Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), an HIV/AIDS clinical trials network established in 2006 by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).


A renowned authority on the development of microbicides, Dr. McGowan is also principal investigator of an $11 million NIH grant called the Combination HIV Antiretroviral Rectal Microbicide (CHARM) program.  The goal of CHARM is to develop microbicides specifically designed to prevent the rectal transmission of HIV by assessing their safety and efficacy in the laboratory and early-phase clinical studies. 


At the MTN, Dr. McGowan is intimately involved in the oversight and leadership of a major global effort to design and implement an expansive portfolio of clinical trials of candidate microbicides at more than 25 research sites across four continents.  Dr. McGowan has spearheaded the design and implementation of numerous studies, and directs MTN’s research agenda on the development and testing of rectal microbicides to protect against HIV through anal sex, facilitating the world’s first Phase II clinical trial of a rectal microbicide.


Dr. McGowan’s extensive industry experience and knowledge of domestic and international project management and regulatory aspects of drug development are brought to bear in MTN’s ambitious endeavors. Between 1997 and 2002, Dr. McGowan held a number of senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry, including as a director of clinical research at Gilead Sciences, where he was responsible for the Phase II/III clinical development of the antiretroviral drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Viread®).


A native of England, Dr. McGowan obtained his medical training from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, where he also completed postgraduate training in internal medicine, infectious diseases and gastroenterology. Between 1989 and 1994, he was a fellow in sexually transmitted diseases and HIV medicine at Middlesex Hospital in London, during which time he obtained a doctoral degree in mucosal immunology from Oxford University. In 1994, Dr. McGowan left the U.K. for a post-doctoral fellowship in digestive diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was appointed professor of professor of medicine and co-director of UCLA’s Center for Prevention Research.  In 2013, Dr. McGowan received a second doctoral degree from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine at the University of Liverpool focused on the clinical development of rectal microbicides for HIV prevention.  Dr. McGowan joined the University of Pittsburgh in September of 2007.


Dr. McGowan is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society of Medicine, and a member of the American Gastroenterology Association and the Society for Mucosal Immunology. He is a reviewer for several high-profile scientific and medical journals, including Science, AIDS, Gastroenterology and PLOS Medicine, and serves on the editorial board of Sexually Transmitted Infections.


Dr. McGowan has served as a consultant for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, and as former chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Antiviral Drug Advisory Committee.  He currently serves as chair of the Microbicide Advisory Committee for the Population Council.


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