Professor Gordon McEwan

Professor Gordon McEwan
BSc (Hons) Physiology (University of Glasgow, 1984); PhD Physiology (University of Glasgow, 1988)

Deputy Director
Personal Chair

Professor Gordon McEwan
Professor Gordon McEwan

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 437403
fax +44 (0)1224 437506
The University of Aberdeen School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition
Office 6:29
IMS Building
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
Scotland, U.K.
Web Links

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition

Institute of Education for Medical & Dental Sciences

Physiological Society

Recognising Teachers in the Life Sciences


Gordon McEwan graduated BSc (Hons) Physiology from the University of Glasgow in 1984. He stayed in Glasgow to study for a PhD within the Institute of Physiology under the supervision of the late Dr Michael Lucas, investigating the influence of bacterial enterotoxins on intestinal weak electrolyte absorption. During his PhD studies, he also spent time working with Prof Hannelore Daniel at the Institute for Nutrition at the University of Giessen in Germany. After graduating PhD in 1988, he took up a postdoctoral position at CMC Hospital, Vellore, South India where he studied human intestinal mucosal pH in situ during diarrhoeal disease. Following this, in 1989 he took up a position with Prof Eric Skadhauge at the Royal Veterinary & Agricultural University (KVL) in Copenhagen, investigating the influence of bacterial enterotoxins on the pig intestine. In 1990, he commenced a third postdoctoral position in the Gastrointestinal Drug Delivery Research Centre, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (working with Prof Nick Simmons and Prof Barry Hirst) where he studied regulation of paracellular transport in GI epithelia, regulation of epithelial chloride transport and the mechanisms of intestinal peptide and amino acid transport. He was appointed as lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in 1993, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002 and to Personal Chair in 2014. He was Director of Teaching in the School of Medical Sciences between 2003 and 2015. He is currently the Director of Teaching for Medical Science Programmes and Deputy Director of the Institute of Education for Medical & Dental Sciences (IEMDS) within the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition. 


Research Interests

Prof McEwan's research interests focus on the broad theme of proton-coupled nutrient transport in mammalian small intestine. This has involved the use of electrophysiological and microspectrofluorometric approaches to investigate transepithelial transport mechanisms for divalent metals (iron, zinc, copper, lead), di/tri peptides and amino acids across polarised cultured human intestinal epithelia. The techniques have proved useful in characterising these important nutrient uptake processes. They have also proved invaluable in permitting study of regulation by intracellular second messengers and protein kinases. Further information, regarding control of transport, has come from investigation of pathophysiological regulation by bacterial enterotoxins. Longer term interest has been with the acid microclimate, an area of maintained low pH at the mucosal surface of mammalian small intestine and the proton source for these fundamental transport systems.

Proton-coupled nutrient transport pathways


Teaching Responsibilities


Prof McEwan is Deputy Director of IEMDS and Director of Teaching for Medical Science Programmes

He is also:

  • Chair Medical Sciences Teaching Executive Committee
  • Chair Medical Sciences Exam Board
  • Degree Programme Co-ordinator BSc Biomedical Sciences
  • Degree Programme Co-ordinator BSc Physiology
  • Degree Programme Co-ordinator BSc Neuroscience with Psychology
  • Course Co-ordinator SM1001 (Introduction to Medical Sciences)
  • Course Co-ordinator BI20B2 (Physiology of Human Cells)
  • Course Co-ordinator PY3803 (Epithelial Physiology)

He teaches on the following courses:

  • SM1001 (Introduction to Medical Sciences)
  • BI20B2 (Physiology of Human Cells)
  • BI25B2 (Physiology of Human Organ Systems)
  • SM2001 (Foundation Skills for Medical Sciences)
  • SM2501 (Research Skills for Medical Sciences)
  • SM3002 (Frontiers of Biomedical Sciences)
  • PY3803 (Epithelial Physiology)
  • BM4004 (Advanced Molecules, Membranes and Cells)
  • MBChB Year 2 (Alimentary System)
  • BDS Years 1 & 2 (Alimentary System)
Further Info

External Responsibilities

External Examiner:

  • BSc Physiological Sciences, Newcastle University (2009-2013)
  • BM5 Medicine Programme, University of Southampton (2009-2013)
  • BSc Human Health and Disease, Trinity College Dublin (2012-2016)
  • BSc Human Biology, University of Glasgow (2015-2019)
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences, Manchester University (2018-2022)

External Programme Reviewer:

  • School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee (2019)

External Appointment Panel Member:

  • Trinity College Dublin; Department of Physiology (2016)

Admin Responsibilities

  • Deputy Director Institute of Education for Medical & Dental Sciences
  • Director of Teaching for Medical Sciences Degree Programmes
  • Medical Sciences Teaching Executive Committee (Chair)
  • Medical Sciences Examination Board (Chair)
  • Medical Sciences Student Staff Liaison Committee (Chair)
  • SMMSN Executive Committee
  • University Undergraduate Committee
  • University Widening Access Committee
  • MBChB Year 2 Executive Committee
  • University Open Day Committee
  • SMMSN Bursary & Endowments Committee