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Rebecca G. Nowak, PhD, MPH

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:

Epidemiology & Public Health

Additional Title:

Associate Member, Population Science Program, Univeristy of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center


725 W. Lombard Street, Rm. N460

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 is an infectious infectious disease epidemiologist focused on HIV and high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection among sexual and gender minorities (SGM) assigned male sex at birth in Africa. Her primary interest is prevention of HPV-associated cancers in the context of HIV; with effective antiretroviral therapies (ART), people with HIV are living longer and are at increased risk of age-related diseases, including cancer.  She is embedding an anal cancer prevention program that leverages the existing HIV care delivery infrastucture, developed under PEPFAR. She also has nearly ten years of experience in laboratory sciences and an interest in molecular pathogenesis of virally associated cancers. Despite ART, persons living with HIV have an inability to clear HR-HPV locally with a cell-mediated immune response independent of immune restoration in the periphery. She is investigating biological mechanisms that promote immunological control of HR-HPV to circumvent the many healthcare challenges that occur in low-to middle-income countries (LMIC). Her long-term goals are to find ways to prevent persistence and progression of HR-HPV to anal cancer where SGM living with HIV are not regularly engaged with the health infrastructure. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

HIV, high-risk human papillomavirus, molecular epidemiology, implementation of anal cancer prevention

Highlighted Publications

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, 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.

Rodriguez-Hart C, Bradley C, German D, Baral S, Ononaku U, Dimlong OT, Crowell TA, Charurat M, Nowak RG. “Building That Strong Energy”: An exploration of stigma coping strategies among sexual and gender minorities in Nigeria. Stigma Health. 2023 May; 8(2):223-231.

Chama J, Adebiyi R, Volpi C, Ononaku U, Maigida J, Aka A, Katu C, Shutt A, Charurat M, Adebajo S, Nowak RG. Prevalence and predictors of concern about anal cancer among sexual and gender minorities living with HIV in Abuja, Nigeria. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2023 Aug 1. 93(4):313-318.

Nowak RG. Expanding early detection of anal cancer to improve survival. Lancet HIV. 2024 Jan; 11(1):e5-e6.


Additional Publication Citations

Awards and Affiliations


  • International Anal Neoplasia Society, 2019-present
  • Society for Mucosal Immunology, 2021- present
  • International Papillomavirus Society, 2022 - present