Ruth McDowell

Assistant Professor of Biology

Ruth McDowell


Professor McDowell is a tetrapod vertebrate who teaches Introductory Biology 1 and various ecology and evolution courses.


Professor McDowell earned her B.S. in Biology at Duke University, where she studied blue crab reproduction. After spending two years working as a research technician at the Duke Marine Lab and as a forest technician in Hawaii, she earned her PhD in Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her dissertation focused on marine chemical ecology of seaweed-dominated ecosystems on the Western Antarctic Peninsula. She then did four years of postdoctoral biomedical research on Type 1 diabetes and pulmonary arterial hypertension at the UAB School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic (humans and seaweeds have stuff in common). She taught biology at Kaua’i Community College, John Carroll University, and Oberlin College prior to her arrival at Hiram in 2022. She is really happy to be here!

Research Interests

Aquatic Chemical Ecology

Selected Publications

McDowell RE, Ali KF, Lad S, San Martin VT, Bottino R, Walsh M, Stevens T, Wilke W, Kirwan J, Hatipoglu B. Bioenergetics of islet preparations in a pilot clinical trial of peri-transplant hydroxychloroquine for autologous islet transplantation. Cell Transplantation, 2021. 30: 1-10.

Zhou H, Wang H, Yu M, Schugar RC, Qian W, Tang F, Liu W, Yang H, McDowell RE, Zhao J, Gao J. IL-1 induces mitochondrial translocation of IRAK2 to suppress oxidative metabolism in adipocytes. Nature Immunology, 2020. 21(10):1219-31.

McDowell RE, Aulak K, Almoushref A, Melillo C, Brauer B, Newman J, Tonelli A, Dweik R. Platelet glycolytic metabolism correlates with hemodynamic severity in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. American Journal of Physiology-Lung, 2020. 318(3):L562-569.

Pepin M, Padgett L, McDowell RE, et al. Antiretroviral therapy potentiates high-fat diet induced obesity and glucose intolerance. Molecular Metabolism, 2018. 12:48–61.

McDowell RE, Amsler M, Li Q, Lancaster J, Amsler C. Control of grazing by light availability via light-dependent, wound-induced metabolites: The role of reactive oxygen species. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 2016. 477:86–91.

McDowell RE, Amsler M, Li Q, Lancaster Jr. J, Amsler C. The immediate wound-induced oxidative burst of Saccharina latissima depends on light via photosynthetic electron transport. Journal of Phycology, 2015. 51(3):431–41.

McDowell RE, Amsler C, McClintock J, Baker B. Reactive oxygen species as an anti-grazing defense in marine systems: H2O2 and wounded Ascoseira mirabilis inhibit amphipod grazer. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 2014. 458:34–38.

McDowell RE, Amsler C, Dickinson D, McClintock J, Baker B. Reactive oxygen species and the Antarctic macroalgal wound response. Journal of Phycology, 2014. 50:71–80.

Darnell M, Darnell K, McDowell RE, Rittschof D. Post-capture survival and future reproductive potential of ovigerous blue crabs caught in the central North Carolina pot fishery. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 2010. 139:1677–1687.

Darnell M, Rittschof D, Darnell K, McDowell RE. Lifetime reproductive potential of female blue crabs in North Carolina. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2009. 394: 153–163.

Fun Facts

  • Professor McDowell grew up in Akron and graduated high school with Lebron James and R.B. Brownfield.
  • Professor McDowell is an American Academy of Underwater Sciences research SCUBA diver and has logged over 75 dry suit dives in Antarctica.
  • Professor McDowell fears but is also intrigued by leopard seals.
  • Professor McDowell wants to learn more about foraging.
  • Professor McDowell’s closest living invertebrate relative is likely a sea squirt. Yours is too!