Michael McDowell, MD

PGY-4 Resident

Michael McDowell




Michael McDowell, MD, joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery residency program in July of 2014 after graduating from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons medical school. He received undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and Latin dance from Arizona State University in 2005, graduating as valedictorian.

During medical school, Dr. McDowell was elected into Alpha Omega Alpha and received funding to pursue a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship investigating the mechanisms by which genetic and environmental factors alter aneurysm morphology. He subsequently received funding from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation to continue his work during residency. Dr. McDowell was heavily involved in teaching and community outreach during medical school and was voted clinician of the year for his contributions to the Columbia Student Medical Outreach clinic in Washington Heights.

His current research interests include the alteration of vascular malformations from childhood to adulthood, the evolution of spinal deformity, and the objectification of clinical outcomes using mobile software platforms. His interests outside of neurosurgery include medical education, dance, and theater. Dr. McDowell is the son of Douglas and Marti McDowell of Iron Mountain, Mich.

Dr. McDowell's publications may be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine’s publication database. 

Specialized Areas of Interest

Health care improvement, cerebrovascular disease, health software development.

Professional Organization Memberships

Alpha Omega Alpha
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Honors & Awards

  • Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow, 2012
  • Brain Aneurysm Foundation Christopher Getch Chair of Research, 2013
  • Cook Medical Neurocritical Care Research Grant, 2014
  • Copeland Grant Winner, 2015
  • AANS/CNS Spine Summit Charlie Kuntz Scholar, 2016

Research Activities

Michael McDowell, MD, received IRB approval to begin his project Transcriptional Heterogeneity Underlying Neurovascular Differences in the Aneurysm Dome (THUNDA-Dome) at UPMC facilities. To date, ten patients have been enrolled in this study designed to better understand the expression of genes in aneurysmal tissue. This study is funded by the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. He also initiated the Technology Augmented Objective Neurological Assessment project, designed to utilized mobile devices to improve clinical diagnosis and prognostication. He has applied for research support for this project with Andrew Ducruet, MD, via the Copeland Foundation and the Genentech Corporation.