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Morton J. Cowan, M.D.

Morton J. Cowan, M.D., is a pediatric immunologist, professor emeritus of pediatrics and member of the Allergy, Immunology and Blood and Marrow Transplant Division in the Department of Pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. His career has focused on children with primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD) and he has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications on this subject. He is principal investigator, with UCSF as the lead institution, for the NIH-funded Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium (PIDTC), a rare disease network that joins 41 pediatric centers in North America to study the natural history and define optimal treatments for children with PIDD. Dr. Cowan serves on the steering committee of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC), which represents more than 70 pediatric transplant centers in North America and on the PBMTC Executive Committee. He founded and was the initial chair of the pediatric special interest group within the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT). Dr. Cowan performed one of the first T cell depleted mismatched bone marrow stem cell transplants in North America in 1982, reported one of the first in utero transplants in the world, the first patient with multiple biotin-dependent carboxylase deficiencies and immune deficiency, one of the first children with ZAP70 deficient SCID, and the first children with HIV infection. He also identified the mutation that causes SCID in Athabascan-speaking native Americans and is currently developing a gene therapy for this disorder. His other major research interest is in identifying non-chemotherapeutic approaches to opening marrow niches in children with non-malignant diseases prior to bone marrow transplantation and gene therapy. Dr. Cowan holds a B.S. from MIT and an M.D. from University of Pennsylvania.