Michael McGowen

Picture of Dr. Michael McGowen

Dr. Michael McGowen

Newton International Fellow

Room 5.01d
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Queen Mary, University of London, UK
E1 4NS


PhD, 2010, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, University of California, Riverside

MSc, 2005, Biology San Diego State University

BA, 1999, Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley


Research Summary

My research integrates phylogenetics, paleontology, and genomics to understand the evolution of mammals and the molecular basis for morphological change and lineage-specific traits.  For much of my research, I use cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) as a model group to investigate broader issues in evolution such as the reconstruction and molecular basis of major morphological transitions.  At QMUL, my current research is centered on a large-scale phylogenomic analysis of Cetacea.




21. McGowen, M. R., Gatesy, J., Wildman, D. E. 2014. Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29, 336-346.

20. Fang, X., Nevo, E., Han, L., Levanon, E. Y., Zhao, J., Avivi, A., Larkin, D., Jiang, X., Feranchuk, S., Zhu, Y., Fishman, A., Feng, Y., Sher, N., Xiong, Z., Hankeln, T., Huang, Z., Gorbunova, V., Zhang, L., Zhao, W., Wildman, D. E., Xiong, Y., Gudkov, A., Zheng, Q., Rechavi, G., Liu, S., Bazak, L., Chen, J., Knisbacher, B., Lu, Y., Shams, I., Gajda, K., Farre, M., Kim, J., Lewin, H. A., Ma, J., Band, M., Bicker, A., Kranz, A., Mattheus, T., Schmidt, H., Seluanov, A., Azpurua, J., McGowen, M. R., Ben Jacob, E., Peng, S., Zhu, X., Liao, X., Li, S., Krogh, A., Zhou, X., Brodsky, L., Wang, J. 2014. Genome-wide adaptive complexes to underground stresses in the blind mole rats, Spalax. Nature Communications 5, 3966.

19. McGowen, M. R., Erez, O., Romero, R., Wildman, D. E. 2014. The evolution of embryo implantation. International Journal of Developmental Biology 58, 155-161.

18. Stempfle, G. S., McGowen, M. R., Caravas, J. A., Wildman, D. E. 2013. From PPROM to caul: the evolution of fetal membrane rupture in mammals. Applied and Translational Genomics 2, 70-77.

17. Montgomery, S. H., Geisler, J. H., McGowen, M. R., Fox, C., Marino, L., Gatesy, J. 2013.  The evolutionary history of cetacean brain and body size.  Evolution 61, 3339-3353.

16. Sterner, K. N., McGowen, M. R., Chugani, H. T., Tarca, A. L., Sherwood, C. C., Hof, P. R., Kuzawa, C. W., Boddy, A. M., Raaum, R. L., Weckle, A., Lipovich, L., Grossman, L. I., Uddin, M., Goodman, M., Wildman, D. E.  2013. Characterization of human cortical gene expression in relation to glucose utilization. American Journal of Human Biology 25, 418-430.

15. Gatesy, J., Geisler, J. H., Chang, J., Buell, C., Berta, A., Meredith, R. W., Springer, M. S., McGowen, M. R.  2013.  A phylogenetic blueprint for a modern whale.  Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. [Invited, Morris Goodman Memorial Volume] 66, 479-506.

14. McGowen, M. R., Grossman, L. I., Wildman, D. E.  2012. Dolphin genome provides evidence for adaptive evolution of nervous system genes and a molecular rate slowdown.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279, 3643-3651.

13. Boddy, A. M., McGowen, M. R., Sherwood, C. C., Grossman, L. I., Goodman, M., Wildman, D. E. 2012. Comparative analysis of encephalization in mammals reveals relaxed constraints on anthropoid primate and cetacean brain scaling. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25, 981-994.

12. Dornburg, A., Brandley, M.C., McGowen, M. R., Near, T. J.  2012. Relaxed clocks and inferences of heterogeneous patterns of nucleotide substitution and divergence time estimates across whales and dolphins (Mammalia:Cetacea).  Molecular Biology and Evolution 29, 721-736.

11. Than, N. G., Romero, R., Kim, C. J., McGowen, M. R., Papp, Z., Wildman, D. E. 2012. Galectins: guardians of eutherian pregnancy at the maternal-fetal interface.  Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 23, 23-31.

10. McGowen, M. R.  2011.  Toward the resolution of an explosive radiation—a multilocus phylogeny of oceanic dolphins (Delphinidae).  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 60, 345-357.

9.   Geisler, J. H., McGowen, M. R., Yang, G., Gatesy, J.  2011.  A supermatrix analysis of genomic, morphological, and paleontological data from crown Cetacea.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:112.

8.   McGowen, M. R., Montgomery, S. H., Clark, C., Gatesy, J.  2011.  Phylogeny and adaptive evolution of the brain-development gene microcephalin (MCPH1) in cetaceans.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:98.

7.   McGowen, M. R., Spaulding, M., Gatesy, J. 2009.  Divergence date estimation and a comprehensive molecular tree of extant cetaceans.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53: 891-906.

6.   Ayoub, N. A., McGowen, M. R., Clark, C., Springer, M., Gatesy J.  2009.  Evolution and phylogenetic utility of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (MC1R) in Cetartiodactyla. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52:560-567.

5.   McGowen, M. R., Clark, C., Gatesy, J. 2008. The vestigial olfactory receptor subgenome of odontocete whales: phylogenetic congruence between gene-tree reconciliation and supermatrix methods. Systematic Biology 57:574-590.

4.   Kim, S. C., McGowen, M. R., Lubinsky, P., Barber, J. C., Mort, M. E., Santos-Guerra, A.  2008.  Timing and tempo of early and successive adaptive radiations in Macaronesia.  PLoS ONE 3:e2139.

3.   Deméré, T. A., McGowen, M. R., Berta, A., Gatesy, J. 2008. Morphological and molecular evidence for a stepwise evolutionary transition from teeth to baleen in mysticete whales. Systematic Biology 57:15-37.

2.   Deméré, T. A., Berta, A., McGowen, M. R.  2005.  The taxonomic and evolutionary history of fossil and modern balaenopterid mysticetes.  Journal of Mammalian Evolution 12:99-143.

1.   McGowen M. R., Padian, K., De Sosa, M. A., Harmon, R. J. 2002. Description of Montanazhdarcho minor, an azhdarchid pterosaur from the Two Medicine Formation (Campanian) of Montana. Paleobios 22:1–9.

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