Dr. Rowe is a quintessential academic physician scientist – a pioneer in the field of personalized therapeutics for CF, cutting-edge discovery in airway disease biology, and translational research in COPD. Dr. Rowe is a respected international 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 is responsible for ~10% of all genetic diseases. Dr. Rowe has 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 3rd leading cause of death and has led to new efforts by his group 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. Miniaturization currently in progress will allow the first in vivo measurements of epithelial function, which would be revolutionary for the field.
Steven M. Rowe, MD, MSPH