Scott Nowak named associate vice president for research at Kennesaw State

KENNESAW, Ga. | (Aug. 9, 2022)

Scott Nowak, a professor of biology in the College of Science and Mathematics, has been named associate vice president for research at Kennesaw State University.

Scott Nowak

As associate vice president for research, Nowak will work closely with vice president for research Phaedra Corso to encourage, promote, and support innovative interdisciplinary research and scholarship at Kennesaw State.

Kennesaw State secured $12.5 million in new external funding in FY2022, representing an 18% increase over new funding received in FY2021.

In February, Kennesaw State was again recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a doctoral university with high research activity, affirming the school’s status as an R2 institution.

“I am excited to be working with the people who are responsible for helping faculty bring in contracts and lending support to faculty to secure research dollars,” Nowak said. “Working on initiatives with the Office of Research to secure good research facility space and get resources to the faculty. My job is not to do the research; my job is to make sure the faculty can do the research. That’s the most important part of the job, is helping other faculty succeed.”

Nowak arrived at Kennesaw State in 2011 and operates his lab in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. His research involves the formation and development of muscle, known as myogenesis. This research is aimed at mitigating or reversing the effects of stroke, muscle injury, cancer cachexia and dystrophy disorders. 

“Research was definitely an initiative at KSU, and that’s a big part of what drew me here,” Nowak said. “There were administrators at every level above me that were interested in growing the research enterprise. They wanted to see it grow. I wanted to run a lab and I wanted to teach, so KSU offered me a very unique opportunity to come here. Seeing what has been built has just been amazing.” 

Nowak has authored or co-authored more than 20 manuscripts and one patent and has been consistently awarded external funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and American Heart Association. 

Nowak recently secured a 4-year, $135,000/year National Institutes of Health grant to study the genetic program to build muscle in fruit flies. 

“The nice thing about working with fruit flies is, the muscles of a fruit fly look and are built the same as a human muscle,” Nowak said. “It’s kind of like saying if I open up the walls on a skyscraper and I open up the wall at my house, what do we have? We have studs and we have electrical. It’s the same thing. Maybe the skyscraper is a little bit more complex, but it’s the same principle. If we study and understand how it’s done in the little building, we can then extrapolate how it’s done in the big building.” 

Nowak earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University in 1997 before earning his Ph. D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2003, where he studied the regulation of gene expression. Nowak completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center, then served as a postdoctoral fellow of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, studying muscle development.