Institute of Genetic Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Guy MacGowan

Honorary Professor of Heart Failure



  • Consultant Cardiologist with major interest in heart failure, Freeman Hospital since July 2004.
  • Honorary Professor of Heart Failure, Newcastle University

Roles and Responsibilities

  • NHS Consultant with responsibility for advanced heart failure supporting heart transplant and ventricular assist device programmes at the Freeman Hospital

Area of expertise

  • Heart failure


  • MB BCh (2.2 Hons): Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 1986
  • MRCPI 1988
  • MD (NUI) 1998
  • Fellow Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
  • Fellow American College of Cardiology
  • Specialist Register in Cardiology 2004

Previous Positions

  • 1997-2004 Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Heart Failure and Transplantation Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Training at: University of Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins University USA, and Beaumont Hospital, Dublin

Honours and Awards

  • Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award, US National Institutes of Health, 1999-2004
  • British Heart Foundation Clinical Leave Research Fellowship 2012-15 

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Research Interests:

Heart Failure: Our research is in the broadest sense related to heart failure, though more specifically related to the physiological and molecular mechanisms of left ventricular dysfunction. 

Heart Failure and Ageing: Heart failure has many forms though overall it is very much a disease of the elderly. Why some elderly subjects suffer from heart failure is not clear. We are conducting research with state of the art magnetic resonance imaging to determine how the heart changes with normal ageing, and how conditions such as hypertension might predispose to heart failure in later life. Ultimately we aim to develop interventions that prevent heart failure developing. Using these same imaging methods we have been helping colleagues from different disciplines to assess left ventricular function in a variety of systemic disorders that are not necessarily thought of as cardiac conditions - such as primary biliary cirrhosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, fatty liver disease, and mitochondrial diseases.

Left Ventricular Assist Devices: Advanced heart failure is a situation when regular or standard therapies fail to work. At the Freeman Hospital over the last decade we have developed an internationally recognised programme using left ventricular assist devices to treat advanced heart failure patients, and we are very active in researching the most effective way of using these devices. For instance we are using ventricular assist devices in selected patients with cardiomyopathy to recover their heart function so that patients no longer require the pump. With collaborators at the Institute of Genetic Medicine we are looking to see if the properties of stem cells in the heart of these recovery patients are responsible for the improvements we see. 

Cardiomyopathy: Some forms of cardiomyopathy are genetic in origin such as the cardiomyopathies associated with muscular dystrophy. We are conducting research to determine mechanisms of the cardiomyopathy (with magnetic resonance imaging) and studying novel pharmacological and molecular therapies to treat or prevent development of the cardiomyopathy.  

Funding: British Heart Foundation, Heart Research UK, Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, US National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association.