Emily C. McGowan, MD, PhD


Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics





  • MD, Medicine, University of Virginia
  • PhD, Clinical Investigation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Understanding the epidemiology and treatment options for food allergy, especially eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs), including eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).


Over the past two decades, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) has rapidly transformed from a case-reportable disease to a major cause of upper gastrointestinal morbidity. EoE is characterized by eosinophils in the esophagus, symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, and/or difficulty swallowing, and the exclusion of other causes of esophageal eosinophilia.  EoE is primarily driven by food, as diets eliminating common food allergens can lead to long-term disease remission.  However, many questions remain unknown about why certain patients develop this disease, how foods trigger this inflammation, and what non-invasive tests could be used to diagnose and monitor this condition.

To help address these questions, Dr. McGowan established the UVA EoE Cohort Study in 2017, which currently follows over 300 individuals with this condition. Her group is particularly interested in questions surrounding the epidemiology and disparities in diagnosing this condition and in identifying non-invasive methodologies that could be used to diagnose and monitor EoE.  In addition, her group, along with others in the Division of Allergy/Immunology, recently found that patients with EoE have strikingly high levels of IgG4 to foods and other allergens in the blood when compared to non-EoE controls.  They are now examining whether IgG4 plays a pathogenic role in this disease and whether it could be used as a biomarker of disease activity.


McGowan EC, Keller JP, Muir AB, Dellon ES, Peng R, Keet CA, Jensen ET.  Distance to Pediatric Gastroenterology Providers is Associated with Decreased Diagnosis of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) in Rural Populations.  J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract.  Accepted 8-24-21 

Yin B, Caggiano LR, Li Rc, McGowan E, Holmes JW, Ewald SE.  Automated Spatially Targeted Optimal Microproteomics Investigates Inflammatory Lesions In Situ.  J Proteome Res.  2021 Sep 3;20(9):4543-4552.  Epub 2021 Aug 26

Sauer BG, West A, McGowan EC.  Multidisciplinary Eosinophilic Esophagitis Care: A Model for Comprehensive Patient-Centered Care Through Shared Decision Making Between Gastroenterology, Allergy, and Nutrition. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Jul 16:S1542-3565(21)00757-6. Online ahead of print.

Al-Hazaymeh A, Patrie J, Adams JC, Borish L, McGowan EC.  Asthma-related outcomes during the SARS-CoV2 Pandemic: A Single Center Observational Study.”  J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract.  2021 June 15: S2213-2190(21)

Platts-Mills TAE, Keshavarz B, Wilson JM, Li RC, Heymann PW, Gold DR, McGowan EC, Erwin EA.  An Overview of the Relevance of IgG4 Antibodies in Allergic Disease with a Focus on Food Allergens.  Children (Basel).  2021 May 20; 8(5):418

McGowan EC, Keller JP, Dellon ES, Peng R, Keet CA.  Reply to “Do rural health disparities affect prevalence data in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis?”  J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract.  2021 Jun;9(6): 2551-2552

Adorno W, Catalano A, Ehsan L, Bitzhum von Eckstaedt H, Barnes B, McGowan E, Syed S, Brown DE.  Advancing eosinophilic esophagitis diagnosis and phenotype assessment with deep learning computer vision.  Biomed Eng Syst Technol Int. 2021 Feb: 44-55

Wilson JM, Li RC, McGowan EC.  The role of food allergy in eosinophilic esophagitis.  J Asthma Allergy.  2020 Dec 15; 13: 679-688

Sohn JK,˚ Barnes BH, Al-Hazaymeh A, Sauer BG, McGowan EC*.  High Prevalence of Developmental Disorders in Pediatric Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE): A Single Center Observational Study.  JACI-IP (accepted 9/18/20).

McGowan EC, Keller JP, Dellon ES, Peng R, Keet CA.  “Prevalence and Geographic Distribution of Pediatric Eosinophilic Esophagitis in the 2012 U.S. Medicaid Population.”  J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract.  2020 April 19. pii: S2213-2198(20)30360-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2020.04.009. [Epub ahead of print] No abstract available.

McGowan EC*, Hong X, Selhub J, Paul L, Wood RA, Matsui EC, Keet CA, Wang X.  “Association Between Folate Metabolites and the Development of Food Allergy in Children.”  J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020 Jan; 8(1): 132-140.

Sohn JK, Keet CA, McGowan EC*.  “Association between Allergic Disease and Developmental Disorders in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).  J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2019 Sept-Oct; 7(7): 2481-2483.

McGowan EC, Platts-Mills TA, Wilson JM.  Food Allergy, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and the Enigma of IgG4.” Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2019 Jun; 122(6): 563-564.

Schuyler AJ, Wilson JM, Tripathi A, Commins SP, Ogbogu PU, Kruzsewski PG, Barnes BH, McGowan EC, Workman LJ, Lidholm J, Rifas-Shiman, SL, Oken E, Gold DR, Platts-Mills TA*, Erwin EA.  “Specific IgG4 Antibodies to Cow’s Milk Proteins in Pediatric Eosinophilic Esophagitis.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  2018 Jul; 142(1): 139-148.

Wilson JM, McGowan EC.  “Diagnosis and Management of Eosinophilic Esophagitis.”  Immunol Allergy Clin North Am.  2018 Feb; 38(1): 125-139.

McGowan EC, Peng R, Salo PM, Zeldin DC, Keet CA*.  “Changes in Food-specific IgE over time in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology-In Practice. 2016 Jul-Aug;4(4):713-20.

McGowan EC, Matsui EC, McCormack MC, Pollack CE, Peng R, Keet CA.  “The Effect of Neighborhood Level Poverty, Urbanization, and Race/Ethnicity on Perceived Food Allergy in the United States.” Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 2015 July; 115(1): 85-86.

McGowan EC, Bloomberg GR, Gergen PJ, Visness CM, Jaffee KF, Sandel M, O’Connor G, Kattan M, Gern J, Wood RA.  “The influence of early life exposures on food sensitization and food allergy in an inner-city birth cohort.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  2015 Jan; 135(1): 171-178.  

McGowan EC, Savage JH, Courneya JP, Sterba P, Parihar S, Lin J, Gimenez G, Sampson HA, Schroeder J, MacGlashan D, Wood RA, Hamilton RG, Saini SS.  “Relationship of IgE to basophil phenotypes in peanut-sensitized adults.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  2014 Sep; 134(3): 746-749.

McGowan EC, Keet CA.  “Prevalence of self-reported food allergy in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010.”  Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2013 Nov;132(5):1216-1219.