MacGowan, Stuart


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Dr. Stuart MacGowan is a Senior Bioinformatics Scientist in Prof. Geoff Barton's group at the University of Dundee. Alongside his research into understanding the intricacies of protein sequences, structures, and human genetic variation, he also maintains and manages the Dundee Resource for Sequence Analysis and Structure Prediction (DRSASP).

Dr. MacGowan has dedicated his career to applying computational and statistical techniques to address key questions in biology and chemistry. After completing his PhD in 2014 under the guidance of Prof. Mathias Senge at Trinity College Dublin, he joined the Data Analysis Group (DAG) within Geoff Barton's group at the University of Dundee. After a few years working on collaborative projects with the DAG, including multiple projects with Prof. Irwin McLean, he shifted his attention to computational work on genetic variation in proteins.

In 2018, Dr. MacGowan was promoted to Senior Bioinformatics Scientist and appointed as the Manager of the Dundee Resource for Sequence Analysis and Structure Prediction. In this role, he oversees the development, maintenance, and enhancement of DRSASP, ensuring that it remains a valuable resource for the scientific community.


At Dundee, Dr. MacGowan's research has involved collaborations with multidisciplinary teams of scientists and clinicians to identify genetic variants and candidate genes implicated in rare genetic skin disorders, atopic dermatitis and COVID-19, alongside his own theoretical work on how human population variation relates to evolutionary changes in proteins.

A cornerstone of his research is understanding the influence of genetic variation on protein structure and function, with a special focus on how variations in ligand and protein binding sites impact the overall function of the protein. He has approached this problem from the "big data" perspective, analysing sequence and structure data from hundreds of thousands of proteins to identify universal trends and patterns. He has also applied these approaches to more specific situations, such as investigating the role of common and rare mutations in the human ACE2 gene and their effect on COVID-19.

In recent years, Dr. MacGowan has maintained DRSASP, which aims to provide a comprehensive toolkit for analysing protein sequences and structures, focusing on aspects such as protein structure, disorder, crystallization, and protein-protein interactions. In addition to maintaining and enhancing this resource, Dr. MacGowan is currently working to expand its capabilities to encompass genetic variation, improve the resources reliability, and ensure the reproducibility of analyses for the future.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Review Editor

28 Apr 2023 → …


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