Michael McDowell, MD

  • Assistant Professor

Michael McDowell, MD, joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery in July of 2022 after serving a fellowship at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Dr. McDowell is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh neurosurgery residency program and the Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons medical school. In addition to his pediatric fellowship, he also completed a skull base fellowship at UPMC while a resident. He received undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and Latin dance from Arizona State University in 2005, graduating as valedictorian.

Dr. McDowell has been heavily involved in teaching since medical school and was voted clinician of the year for his educational contributions to the Columbia Student Medical Outreach clinic in Washington Heights. He is also the founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s mini-elective for second year medical students titled “Brain and Blade: The World of Neurosurgery.”

As well as general pediatric neurosurgery, Dr. McDowell has specific interests in skull base and cranio-cervical junction disorders in children. His research interests also include non-invasive monitoring and he is actively collaborating with investigators at Carnegie Mellon University in a clinical investigation using near infrared light to non-invasively measure intracranial pressure in adults and children. He is also the co-founder of Astria Biosciences, a company dedicated towards the early detection of brain aneurysms derived from research performed at UPMC.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Skull base and pituitary neurosurgery; Chiari malformation; pediatric neurosurgery; non-invasive intracranial pressure measurement; medical education.

Board Certifications

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC Harrisburg

Professional Organization Membership

Allegheny County Medical Society
American Association of Neurological Surgery
AANS Section on the History of Neurological Surgery
AANS Early to Mid-Career Neurosurgery Committee
AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Pennsylvania Medical Society House of Delegates
Radiosurgical Society
Scoliosis Research Society

Professional Activities

Chair, Industry Relations Committee, AANS/CNS Pediatric Section
Consultant, National Cancer Institute Pediatric and Young Adult Chordoma Clinic

Education & Training

  • BS, Biochemistry, Arizona State University, 2009
  • MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 2014
  • Fellowship, UPMC Skull Base Division, 2020
  • Residency, University of Pittsburgh, 2021
  • Fellowship, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 2022

Honors & Awards

  • Hydrocephalus Association Award, AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery, 2021
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Faculty Teaching Award, 2021
  • Pennsylvania Neurological Society Oral Presentation Award, 2019
  • Copeland Grant Winner, Pittsburgh Foundation, 2015,
  • Gold Medal, Top Gun Surgical Completion, Lumbar Pedicle Screw Placement, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 2017
  • Charlie Kuntz Scholar, AANS/CNS Spine Summit, 2016
  • Christopher Getch Chair of Research, Brain Aneurysm Foundation, 2013

Media Appearances