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

                                     Areas of Interest
                                     Cystic Fibrosis

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.
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. 
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.

Education & Training

Medical School
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

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

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

Contact Information


MCLM 706

Office Phone
(205) 934-9640

(205) 934-7593

Beeper #

Cheryl Owens
(205) 934-9640