Norma J. NowakDirector of Scientific Planning
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics
Years at UB: 1999-present
A bioinformatics superstar, Nowak has won recognition for her role in the Human Genome Project, collaborating with the international team of scientists who in 2003 completed mapping the human genetic sequence.
Born and raised in Buffalo, Nowak is a graduate of Mount Saint Joseph Academy and Canisius College (B.S., 1979). She received both her Master of Science and doctorate degrees from the University at Buffalo concentrating on immunology and pathology.
Currently Nowak holds the rank of full Professor at UB. She is also the Director of Scientific Planning of UB's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics (COEB).
From 1999 until 2003, Nowak was the Director of the Microarray and Genomics Facility, a research laboratory shared by UB's medical school and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Her earlier research centered on cloning disease genes and mapping the human genetic code.
Nowak is a real community builder who is dedicated to Buffalo and the region. She stayed in Buffalo when she could have left the area to pursue her career in more fertile ground. She is one of the main people responsible for recruiting top people to come to the COEB on which the region is placing its hopes for long-range development and revitalization.
Nowak is also a single mom with two teenage sons. Before her husband died in 1993, he was the primary bread-winner and she worked as a research associate at a genetics lab at Roswell Park with flexible hours. Afterwards she started "a high-gear race to raise her sons alone and build a career that would be not only meaningful but also lucrative enough to sustain them" (Buffalo News 6/29/03).
Nowak has authored and co-authored over fifty articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and received more than $3 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) alone. She was awarded the Canisius College Distinguished Alumni Award in November 2003.