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Rebecca G. Nowak, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:

Epidemiology & Public Health

Additional Title:

Assistant Professor, Institute of Human Virology


725 W. Lombard Street, Rm. N452

Phone (Primary):


Phone (Secondary):




Education and Training

Bowdoin College, BA, Biology, 1994

Columbia University, MPH, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, 2004 

Johns Hopkins University, PhD, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, 2010

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2013


Dr. Nowak's research goals are to understand the molecular pathogenesis of virally associated cancers particularly in the context of HIV infection. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist with nearly ten years of experience in laboratory sciences. Her interest in HIV began in the mid-90's and she has maintained a focus on HIV throughout her training as an epidemiologist. She is currently interested in the local immune environment and how that contributes to the persistence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV). Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has not been associated with a decrease in HPV-associated cancers, suggesting an inability to clear HR-HPV locally with a cell mediated immune response independent of immune restoration in the periphery. To better understand what is happening locally, she is characterizing the composition of the anal microbiota among HIV-infected and HIV-unifected Nigerian men who have sex with men (MSM) as a correlate of persistent HR-HPV. Her long term goal is to identify local immunologic pathways that may be enhanced to prevent anal cancer.

Research/Clinical Keywords

HIV, HR-HPV, epidemiology

Highlighted Publications

Nowak RG, Gravitt PE, Morrison CS, Gange SJ, Kwok C, Oliver AE, Howard R, Van Der Pol B, Salata RA, Padian NS, Chipato T, Munjoma M, Celentano DD. Increases in human papillomavirus (HPV) detection during early HIV infection among women in Zimbabwe. J Infect Dis. 2011 Apr; 203:1182-91.

Nowak RG, Gravitt PE, He X, Ketende S, Blattner WA, Charurat ME, on behalf of the TRUST Study Group. Anal high-risk human papillomavirus infections among HIV-positive and HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) in Nigeria. Sex Transm Dis. 2016 Apr; 43(4):243-248.

Nowak RG, Bentzen SM, Ravel J, Crowell TA, Dauda W, Ma B, Liu H, Blattner WA, Baral SD, Charurat ME, on behalf of the TRUST/RV3678 Study Group. Rectal microbiota among HIV-uninfected, untreated HIV, and treated HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) in Nigeria. AIDS 2017 Mar 27; 31(6):857-862.

Nowak RG, Ambulos NP, Schumaker LM, Mathias TJ, White RA, Troyer J, Wells D, Charurat ME, Bentzen SM, Cullen KJ. Genotyping of high-risk anal human papillomavirus (HPV): Ion Torrent-Next Generation Sequencing vs. Linear Array. Virology Journal 2017; 14:112.