Nicole F. Dowling, PhD

Photo of Nicole F. Dowling, PhD

Nicole Dowling, PhD, is an epidemiologist and leader in public health science with more than 20 years’ experience in leadership roles in programs across CDC. As the Associate Director for Science in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Dr. Dowling provides leadership and oversight to ensure that all of the division’s scientific work, publications, and communications meet the highest standards of quality and integrity and comply with all human subjects and other ethical standards. She led the development of a strategic science agenda for the division, represents the division on the Cancer Topic Area Workgroup for Healthy People 2030, and serves as a member of the National Cancer Policy Forum at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Before joining the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in 2018, Dr. Dowling served as the chief of the Developmental Disabilities Branch in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, where she provided scientific leadership and oversight for CDC’s surveillance and research programs for autism and other developmental disabilities. As the Associate Director for Science in the Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders from 2012 to 2015, Dr. Dowling worked with experts within and outside the division to determine the optimal blood folate level for preventing neural tube defects. These efforts supported the development of a World Health Organization guideline for evidence-informed recommendations on blood folate concentrations in women of reproductive age to prevent neural tube defects in populations. The publication detailing the workexternal icon was awarded a 2015 Charles C. Shepard Science Award. Additional contributions during Dr. Dowling’s career at CDC include direction of population research with the Office of Public Health Genomics and research to understand the etiology and outcomes of clotting and bleeding disorders with the Division of Blood Disorders. In 2017, she served as the chair for the Charles C. Shepard Science Award committee.

Dr. Dowling completed her undergraduate education at Harvard University and received her PhD in epidemiology from Emory University.

Recent articles Dr. Dowling has co-authored include—