Ian McDowell


                          Research Interests

                          During the first year of my Master’s career in Biological Sciences in which I studied oyster immunity, I came into possession of more base pairs of RNA (technically, cDNA) than there are years that the universe has been in existence.  This won’t come as a shock to any of my colleagues who may be reading this, but it came as quite an exciting shock to me.  I became an instant convert to high-throughput technologies and biology through data analysis.  My interests include a broad array of questions from statistical genetics and functional genomics.

Personal Interests

I like hiking, biking, walking, cooking, yoga, reading (science and fiction but not science fiction), foreign languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French), film (particularly Rohmer, Noah Baumbach, Truffaut, Haneke), traveling, music (live and studio recorded).

Academic Background

Duke University (2013-now)

    Ph.D. candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

University of Rhode Island (2010-2012)

     M.S. in Biological and Environmental Sciences, with Dr. Marta Gomez-Chiarri

The Pennsylvania State University, Schreyer’s Honors College (2001-2005)

     B.S. in Biology  (concentration, Genetics and Development)

        Highest Distinction

     B.S. in Psychology (concentration, Evol. and Biol. Sciences)

        Highest Distinction


McDowell, I., Nikapitiya, C., Aguilar, D., Lane, C., Istrail, S., & M. Gomez-Chiarri. 2013. 

     Transcriptome of eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, in response to bacterial

     challenge: Insights into potential mechanisms of disease resistance. PLoS One, in


McDowell, I., Lane, C., & M. Gomez-Chiarri. 2013. Similarity clustering of the transcriptome

     of the Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica with sequences from diverse invertebrate

     species reveals novel expanded immune gene families. in preparation.

McDowell, I. 2012. Transcriptome of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica in

      response to bacterial challenge. MS thesis. University of Rhode Island, 2012.


McDowell, I., Nikapitiya, C., Lovell, J. Zacher, D., & M. Gomez-Chiarri. 2011. Network and

     expression analysis of the transcriptome of eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica,

     juveniles in response to the bacterial pathogen Roseovarius crassostreae. Presentation

     given at the 104rd Annual Meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association, Seattle,


McDowell, I., Nikapitiya, C., Sohn, S.B. & M. Gomez-Chiarri. 2010. Differential gene

     expression in eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) seed in response to the bacterial

     pathogen Roseovarius crassostreae. Presentation given at the 103rd Annual Meeting of

     the National Shellfisheries Association, Baltimore, MD.

Image below is adapted from Watson & Crick’s 1953 Nature paper