McGowin 2

Chris L. McGowin, PhD

Assistant Professor - Research
Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology

1901 Perdido Street
MEB, Room 6214
New Orleans, LA  70112
Tel:  (504) 568-7281
Fax:  (504) 568-2918


B.S. Microbiology and Immunology
Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

PhD Experimental Pathology
University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX


Dr. McGowin has been focused on basic and clinical aspects of infectious diseases and women’s health, most notably with sexually acquired pathogens and their associated clinical syndromes.  A Texas native, he earned his PhD from the Experimental Pathology Department at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX.  From 2009-2012, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Infectious Diseases section of Internal Medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA.  Dr. McGowin joined the faculty in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at LSU Health Sciences Center in 2012 as a Research Assistant Professor.

Research Interests

Sexually transmitted infections are an important public health and economic concern worldwide. Infectious causes of upper reproductive tract inflammation in women can impact reproductive and sexual health. Currently, the primary research aim of the McGowin laboratory is to define the mechanisms of mucosal pathogenesis by the emerging sexually transmitted pathogen, Mycoplasma genitalium. We have approached the goal of understanding reproductive tract disease from several perspectives: 1) Using next-generation sequencing platforms, we have sequenced the complete genomes of phenotypically variable M. genitalium strains found worldwide. Using comparative genomic tools, we are identifying functional determinants of mucosal infection in order to understand how M. genitalium establishes infection and persists in the female reproductive tract; 2) We utilize novel 3-dimensional models of human reproductive tract mucosae to investigate aspects of host-pathogen interaction such as innate immunity and genome-wide transcriptional responses to acute and persistent infection; 3) In clinical investigations, we have determined that M. genitalium is among the most inflammatory of the STIs, and are now evaluating directly whether M. genitalium infection is linked to enhanced HIV disease progression in longitudinal cohorts of women. A second arm of the laboratory is dedicated to design and implementation of industry-sponsored projects and investigator-initiated clinical trials for in vitro diagnostic (IVD) testing. Our current focus is commercial validation for automated, high-throughput nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) for Human Papilloma Virus, Trichomonas vaginalis and M. genitalium.

Teaching Activities

DENT 1118: Microbiology and Immunology
MICRO 281: Selected Topics in Bacteriology
MICRO 225: Advanced Medical Bacteriology
MIP200/201: Medical Microbiology

Selected Publications

For a list of publications, click here.