Andrew J. Nowalk, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Codirector, Pediatric Residency Program, Department of Pediatrics
  • Advisory Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Professional Staff President, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Dr. Andrew Nowalk is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics, both at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. After completing his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University, he entered the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine MD/PhD program in 1990. He completed his PhD in 1997 and his MD in 1999, and chose to do his pediatric residency here at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He completed residency, chief residency, and an infectious disease fellowship at Children's in 2005, joining the faculty of the School of Medicine. He continues to maintain clinical practice and an active research program in Lyme disease immunology and pathogenesis, beginning with K08 and ARRA funding and continuing now in collaborative efforts with multiple sites in western Pennsylvania. His program has extended to examination of clinical parameters of the Lyme disease epidemic in western Pennsylvania and nationally in studies of pediatric Lyme disease cases. Additionally, he continues to provide expertise in the study of multidrug resistant organisms (MDRO) in pediatric and adult populations, as a co-investigator with Dr. Yohei Doi in Adult Infectious Diseases division on MDR Acinetobacter infections. This work is supplemented by ongoing involvement in studies of MDR gram-negative infections in the pediatric population. He continues to participate in work on modeling of infectious diseases, most recently as a consultant to a Probabilistic Disease Surveillance study centered in the Department of Biomedical Informatics.

In addition to his research interests, Dr. Nowalk serves as a key faculty for education efforts in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the UPMC Graduate Medical Education program. Since 2013, he has served as an Advisory Dean at the School of Medicine, mentoring more than 100 students in all years of training. He was appointed Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburg in 2014 and continues to share leadership with Dr. Stephanie Dewar. Among his educational efforts has been the development of the Residency Program Strategic Planning and the Research Oriented Activities for Residents (ROAR) program in 2015. Dr. Nowalk has received multiple teaching awards, including the 2002 Londino Senior Resident Teaching Award, the 2004 First Year Fellow Teaching Award, the 2009 and 2014 William I. Cohen Teacher of the Year Award, and Excellence in Education Awards from the School of Medicine in 2010 and 2012 for his lectures and small group work in first year courses. He participates in courses and electives throughout all years of the medical school curriculum, as well as teaching residents and fellows in the Department of Pediatrics.

As a clinical specialist in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Dr. Nowalk provides care for inpatients and outpatients with a wide variety of infectious disease issues. His areas of interest include diagnosis and care of pediatric Lyme disease cases, patients with multidrug-resistant infections, and immunocompromised hosts, including solid organ transplant recipients both prior to and following transplantation.

Major Lectureships And Seminars

  •  “Lyme Disease: Dos and Don’ts from the Pittsburgh Epidemic”, Medical Grand Rounds, Excela Westmoreland Hospital, Greensburg Pa, September 2016
  • “Mosquito Borne Infections from Arbovirus to Zika”, Family Medicine Grand Rounds, UPMC St. Margaret’s Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., September 2016
  •  “Lyme Disease: Dos and Don’ts from the Pittsburgh Epidemic”, 1st Annual John Govi, MD Memorial Conference, Excela Latrobe Hospital, Latrobe, Pa, December 2016
  • “Mosquito-borne infections and Lyme disease”. UPMC Shadyside Urgent Care, Pittsburgh, Pa., March 2017
  • “Common and emerging pediatric infections”, Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians Pittsburgh CME Conference and UPMC 44rd Refresher Course in Family Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pa., March 2017
  •  “Tickborne disease update”, Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Pittsburgh, Pa., October 2017

Professional Affiliations/Society Memberships

  • Society for Pediatric Research
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • National Physicians Alliance
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
  • American Medical Student Association

Education & Training

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine- M.D., Ph.D.
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine- Residency
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine- Fellowship

Representative Publications

Research Interests

Lyme Disease Epidemic in Western Pennsylvania. Nowalk’s primary focus is the study of the Lyme disease epidemic that has been affecting Western Pennsylvania since 2005. He continues to study the local epidemiology of the Western Pennsylvania Lyme disease epidemic through collaborative projects at Children’s Hospital (examining local and national rates of Lyme carditis with Cheyenne Beach, MD, in Pediatric Cardiology; variant presentations of neurologic Lyme disease associated with cranial nerve palsies with Catalina Cleves-Bayon, MD, in Child Neurology; and atypical arthritis presentations with Sriram Ramgopal, MD, in Pediatric Emergency Medicine); as well as with groups at Carnegie Mellon University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, investigating the geographic spread of Lyme into Western Pennsylvania.

Molecular Characterization of Acinetobacter Resistance. Nowalk is a co-investigator with Yohei Doi, MD, PhD, on a project examining proteomic changes in Acinetobacter baumannii during evolution of colistin resistance. Acinetobacter is a leading cause of multidrug-resistant, hospital-acquired infection. The focus is bacterial adaptation that leads to these phenotypes.

Genomics and Proteomics of Renal Scarring in Pediatric UTI. In collaboration with Nader Shaikh, MD, Nowalk and Doi’s laboratory acts as the sample repository for the Steroids to Actively Reduce Renal Scarring Study. This NIH-supported grant tests whether corticosteroids decrease rates of renal scarring in children with febrile UTI. Nowalk provides reference laboratory support for this study and supervises the molecular analyses of the bacterial and human samples. This study has expanded into the analysis of the microbiome of the subjects, and the laboratory provides data to correlate bacterial virulence factors and biome constituents that may predispose patients to severe scarring in UTI.

Probabilistic Disease Surveillance and Predictive Models of Infectious Disease. In conjunction with Michael Wagner, MD, of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Nowalk has acted as a consultant to this National Library of Medicine R01, which examines the potential for natural language processing (NLP) algorithms for the early identification of infectious disease epidemics. The joint project, shared with Intermountain Health Care in Salt Lake City, Utah, examines NLP-based detection of respiratory viral infections such as influenza using a novel instrument to detect cases from electronic health record data from emergency room visits. This project has yielded two recent manuscripts in PLoS One and Applied Clinical Informatics.

  • Clinical epidemiology of the Lyme disease epidemic in western Pennsylvania and nationally
  • Host pathogen interactions of Borrelia burgdorferi in animals models of Lyme arthritis
  • Modeling of pediatric infectious diseases using NLP (natural language processing) and data warehouse methodology
  • Multidrug resistant organisms in pediatric patients: molecular microbiology and clinical management