Epidemiology & Public Health
Assistant Professor, Institute of Human Virology
725 W. Lombard Street, Rm. N460
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.
HIV, HR-HPV, epidemiology
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.
Nowak RG, Randis TM, Desai P, He X, Robinson CK, Rath J, Glover ED, Ratner AJ, Ravel J, Brotman RM. Higher levels of a cytotoxic protein, vaginolysin, in Lactobacillus-deficient community state types at the vaginal mucosa. Sex Transm Dis. 2018 Apr; 45(4):e14-e17.
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/RV368 Study Group. Anal microbial patterns and oncogenic human papillomavirus in a pilot study of Nigerian men who have sex with men at risk for or living with HIV. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 2019 Mar; 35(3):267-275.
Nowak RG, Mitchell A, Crowell TA, Ketende S, Ramadhani HO, Ndembi N, Orazulike I, Liu H, Ake J, Blattner WA, Baral SD, Charurat ME on behalf of the TRUST/RV368 Study Group. Individual and sexual network predictors of HIV incidence among men who have sex with men in Nigeria. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2019 Apr; 80(4):444-453.
Nowak RG, Ndembi N, Dauda W, Jibrin P, Bentzen SM, Nnaji CH, Olaomi O, Darragh TM, Jonathan M, Crowell TA, Baral SD, Blattner WA, Charurat ME, Palefsky JM, Cullen KJ, on behalf of the TRUST/RV368 Study Group. Implementation of and early outcomes from anal cancer screening at a community-engaged health care facility providing care to Nigerian men who have sex with men. Journal of Global Oncology 2019 Jul; 5:1-11.
Nowak RG, Nnaji CH, Dauda W, Mitchell A, Olaomi O, Jibrin P, Crowell TA, Baral SD, Ndembi N, Charurat ME, Palefsky JM, Bentzen SM, Cullen KJ, on behalf of the TRUST/RV368 Study Group. Satisfaction with high-resolution anoscopy for anal cancer screening among men who have sex with men: a cross-sectional survey in Abuja, Nigeria. BMC Cancer 2020 Feb 5; 20(1):98.