Professor of Medicine, Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, and Cell Development & Integrative Biology

Nancy R. and Eugene C. Gwaltney Family Endowed Chair in Medical Research

Director, Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center

Director, CFF Therapeutics Development Network

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine
1900 University Blvd., THT-422
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294

Physician Provider Profile

Board Certifications
2002, American Board of Internal Medicine

2002, American Board of Pediatric Medicine
2004, American Board of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases
2005, American Board of Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine

Medical School:  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Residency:  University of Alabama at Birmingham
Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Birmingham, AL

Fellowship:  University of Alabama at Birmingham
Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Birmingham, AL

Contact Information


Campus Address:


 THT 422

Academic Office location:


 MCLM 706

Office Phone:


 (205) 934-9640

Office Fax (Academic):


 (205) 934-7593

Email Address:



Beeper #:



Office Assistant:  
Cheryl Owens

Phone: (205) 934-9640 
Fax: (205) 934-7593

Brief Bio
Steven M. Rowe was born in Baton Rouge, LA in May 1972.  He received his BA degree from the University of Virginia in 1994, his medical degree from Vanderbilt University in 1998, and an MSPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2005.  He completed a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics internship and residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He also completed a combined Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Pediatric Pulmonary fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

In 2014, Dr. Rowe was promoted to Professor with tenure in the Departments of Medicine (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine), Pediatrics (Pediatric Pulmonology), and Cell Developmental and Integrative Biology. He is the Director of the Gregory Fleming Cystic Fibrosis Research Center, which involves over 100 faculty members and has been continuously funded for over 25 years. Dr. Rowe is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Medicine and serves as a Special Consultant for Translational Science for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Clinical Interests
Dr. Rowe specializes in developing new treatments for cystic fibrosis, the most common autosomal recessive genetic disease, and the cause of severe pulmonary disease affecting children and young adults. He founded the CF Transition Clinic for adolescents and young adults with the disease. He maintains expertise in the design and conduct of clinical trials targeting the basic CF defect. Dr. Rowe also has an interest in biomarkers of CF and other related airway diseases including measures of ion transport and the relation between mucus stasis and inflammation. He currently directs a clinical research program that examines the relationship between CF and the chronic bronchitis of COPD. 

Research Interests
Dr. Rowe is an accomplished academic physician scientist- a pioneer in the field of personalized therapeutics for CF, cutting-edge discovery in airway disease biology, and translational research. He is a respected authority in the design and conduct of clinical trials targeting the basic CF defect and has made key advances in the measurement and interpretation of CFTR function in humans and animals. In a related effort, Dr. Rowe has advanced both the molecular and clinical understanding of suppression of premature termination codons, representing an exciting strategy for treatment of genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations, which are responsible for approximately 10 percent of all genetic diseases.

Dr. Rowe has recently discovered that COPD patients exhibit acquired CFTR dysfunction through a pathway that causes delayed mucociliary clearance and confers chronic bronchitis. The approach establishes how a single gene in a rare disorder can contribute to the third leading cause of death and has lead to new efforts to evaluate CFTR modulators in patients with chronic bronchitis, potentially leading to a new paradigm for COPD treatment. Dr. Rowe co-invented one-micron resolution optical coherence tomography that captures 3D imaging in real time at the cellular level. The technique is highly sensitive to the epithelial function of airway tissues and can provide simultaneous and non-invasive measurements of the functional microanatomy of the airway surface, significantly advancing our understanding of airway disease pathogenesis.

Dr. Rowe has a remarkable ability to identify, establish, and cultivate effective collaborations across institutional and geographic boundaries. He established a prolific six-year collaboration with Dr. Guillermo Tearney to advance µOCT imaging for use in respiratory epithelia to ask seminal questions in airway biology. Dr. Rowe initiated an eight-year collaboration with Dr. Mark Dransfield to investigate acquired CFTR dysfunction in COPD. He has a seven-year collaboration with Dr. David Bedwell to advance translational readthrough approaches for genetic disease. Dr. Rowe is also highly effective in research consortia. He leads the International Mucus Clearance Consortium, involving Fundamental and translational scientists. He is also a key member of the cystic fibrosis research community, helping lead the Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Network through the Center for CFTR Detection.

Key Publications
Accurso FJ, Rowe SM, Clancy JP, Boyle MP, Dunitz J, Durie PR, Sagel SD, Hornick DB, Konstan MW, Donaldson SH, Moss RB, Pilewski JM, Rubenstein R, Uluer AZ, Aitken ML, Freedman SD, Rose LM, Mayer-Hamblett N, Dong Q, Zha J, Stone AJ, Olson ER, Ordonez CL, Campbell PW, Ashlock MA, Ramsey BW. “Effect of VX-770 in persons with cystic fibrosis and the G551D-CFTR mutation”. N Engl J Med Nov 18:363(21):1991-2003 (2010). See accompanying editorial: Davis PB, “Therapy for cystic fibrosis--the end of the beginning?” N Engl J Med. 2011 Nov 3;365(18):1734-5.

Raju SV, Jackson PL, Courville CA, McNicholas CM, Sloane PA, Sabbatini G, Tidwell S, Tang LP, Liu B, Fortenberry JA, Jones CW, Boydston JA, Clancy JP, Bowen L, Accurso FJ, Blalock JE, Dransfield MT, Rowe SM. “Cigarette Smoke Induces Systemic Defects in Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance (CFTR) Regulator Ion Transport.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 2013 Dec 1;188(11):1321-30. Please also see accompanying editorial: Crystal RG. “Are the Smoking-induced Diseases an Acquired Form of Cystic Fibrosis?” Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2013;188:1277-8.

Wainwright CE, Elborn JS, Ramsey BW, Marigowda G, Huang X, Cipolli M, Colombo C, Davies JC, De Boeck K, Flume PA, Konstan MW, McColley SA, McCoy K, McKone EF, Munck A, Ratjen F, Rowe SM, Waltz D, Boyle MP; TRAFFIC and TRANSPORT Study Groups.Lumacaftor-Ivacaftor in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis Homozygous for Phe508del CFTR. N Engl J Med. 2015 May 17. See accompanying editorial: Davis PB, “Another Beginning for Cystic Fibrosis Therapy.” N Engl J Med. 2015 Jul 16;373(3):274-6.

Birket SE*, Chu KK*, Liu L, Houser GH, Li Y, Diephuis BJ, Wilsterman EJ, Dierksen G, Mazur M, Grizzle WE, Sorscher EJ, Tearney GJ, Rowe SM. “A Functional Anatomic Defect of the CF Airway.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Aug 15;190(4):421-32. *Note: Authors contributed equally to this manuscript. Please also see accompanying editorial: Wine JJ. “Measuring mucociliary transport and mucus properties in multiple regions of airway epithelial surfaces helps clarify cystic fibrosis defects.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Aug 15;190(4):364-5.

Rowe SM, Heltshe SL, Gonska T, Donaldson S, Borowitz D, Gelfond D, Sagel S, Khan U, Mayer-Hamblett N, Van Dalfsen J, Joseloff E, Ramsey B, on behalf of the GOAL investigators. “Clinical mechanism of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator potentiator ivacaftor in G551D-mediated cystic fibrosis. ” Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Jul 15;190(2):175-184. Please see accompanying editorial: Molloy K, McElvaney NG. “Ivacaftor: From Bench to Bedside . . . and Back Again.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Jul 15;190(2):128-129.

Sloane P, Shastry S, Wilhelm A, Courville C, Courville C, Tang LP, Backer K, Levin E, Mazur M, Tidwell S, Sabbatini G, Hathorne H, Jackson P, Blalock E, Dransfield M, Rowe SM (3). “A Pharmacologic Approach to Acquired CFTR Dysfunction in COPD.” Epub June 29, 2012. PLoS ONE 7(6);e39809 (2012).

Please click here for Dr. Rowe's complete publications listing.


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