Professor Don Cowan

 Department of Genetics

[email protected]

Microbial Molecular Ecology and Genomics

Don Cowan was educated in New Zealand at the University of Waikato, moving to University College London in 1985.

In 2001, he was appointed Professor of Microbiology at UWC, Cape Town, where he was a Senior Professor and Director of the Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics.

He joined the University of Pretoria in 2012 as Director of the Institutional Research Theme (Genomics). Professor Cowan has an NRF A2 rating, has published over 210 research papers, review articles and book chapters, and sits on the Editorial Boards of 8 international journals. He is currently the President of the Royal Society of South Africa. 



GRI-related research

Don Cowan leads the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics (CMEG) at UP, with a wide range of projects in the general fields of environmental microbiology, genomics, functional metagenomics and applied enzymology. Projects include the molecular ecology of hot (Namibian) and cold (Antarctic Dry Valley) desert soils, metagenomic gene discovery and the genomics and genome analysis of extremophilic bacteria.



Key Publications

Tiao, G, Lee, CK, McDonald, IR, Cowan, DA, Cary, SC (2012) Rapid microbial response to removal of the presence of an ancient relic in the Antarctic Dry Valleys. Nature Comms. 3: 360 

Cary, SC, McDonald, I, Barrett, JE, Cowan, DA (2010) On the rocks: Microbial ecology of Antarctic cold desert soils.  Nature Rev Microbiol.  8: 129-138 

Casanueva, A, Tuffin, IM, Cary, SC, Cowan, DA (2010) Molecular adaptations to psychrophily: The impact of 'omic' technologies. Trends Microbiol. 18: 374-381



Published by Grant Christie

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2022. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

To contact the University during the COVID-19 lockdown, please send an email to [email protected]

Click here for frequently asked questions for first year UP students

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences