Professor Gordon McEwan

Professor Gordon McEwan
Professor Gordon McEwan

Professor Gordon McEwan

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

Personal Chair



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, in 1986, 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 the Wellcome Gastroenterology Research Laboratory, CMC Hospital, Vellore, South India where he joined Prof V.I. Mathan to study human intestinal mucosal pH in situ during diarrhoeal disease. Following this, in 1989, he joined the late 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 held the role of Director of Teaching in the School of Medical Sciences between 2003 and 2015 and was the Programme Coordinator for both Physiology and Neuroscience from 2002 until 2021. He is currently the Director of Teaching for Medical Science Programmes and Deputy Director of the Institute of Education for Healthcare & Medical Sciences (IEHMS) within the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition (since 2015). 


  • BSc (Hons) Physiology 
    1984 - University of Glasgow 
  • PhD Physiology 
    1988 - University of Glasgow 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Director of Teaching for Medical Sciences Degree Programmes
  • Deputy Director Institute of Education for Healthcare & Medical Sciences  (IEHMS)
  • Medical Sciences Teaching Executive Committee (Chair)
  • Medical Sciences Examination Board (Chair)
  • Medical Sciences Student Staff Liaison Committee 
  • MBChB Year 2 Executive Committee
  • IEMDS Executive Committee
  • IEMDS Assessment & Feedback Committee
  • IEMDS Line Managers Committee
  • SMMSN Executive Committee
  • SMMSN Education Steering Committee 
  • SMMSN School Teaching & Learning Committee
  • SMMSN Product Development & Recruitment Committee
  • SMMSN Bursary & Endowments Committee
  • University Undergraduate Committee
  • University Space Management Committee
  • University Widening Access Committee
  • University Open Day Committee 


External Memberships

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)

Professional Society Membership:

  • Physiological Society elected member (1992) 



Research Overview

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 Director of Teaching for Medical Science Programmes and Deputy Director of IEHMS

He is also:

  • Chair Medical Sciences Teaching Executive Committee
  • Chair Medical Sciences Exam Board
  • Course Co-ordinator SM1001 (Introduction to Medical Sciences)
  • Course Co-ordinator BI20B2 (Physiology of Human Cells)
  • Course Co-ordinator PY3803 (Epithelial Physiology)

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

Responsible for:

Medical Sciences Open Day, Applicant Day, College Articulation Day events

Medical Sciences New Student Induction (Orientation) events

Internal Teaching Review (ITR) activities


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  • The effect of guar gum on in vivo unstirred water layer thickness.

    Sood, L., Taylor, J. C., Lucas, M. L., McEwan, G. T.
    Gastroenterologie et Clinical Biologie. pp. 869.
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings


Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals