D. Rebecca Prevots, Ph.D.

D. Rebecca Prevots, Ph.D.

Credit: NIAID
Chief, Epidemiology Unit

Major Areas of Research

  • Epidemiology of
    • Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) and bronchiectasis
    • Antimicrobial resistant infections
    • Invasive candidiasis
    • Primary immune deficiencies
    • Vector-borne diseases in collaboration with the Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology and Rocky Mountain Laboratories (Ebola and Lassa fever)
  • Spatio-temporal mapping and ecology of infectious diseases

Program Description

Epidemiology is a core science in public health that includes surveillance, observation, hypothesis testing, analytic research, and experiments and interventions. As the fundamental science of preventive medicine and public health, epidemiology has traditionally focused on disease causation through population studies. Epidemiologists develop and evaluate hypotheses about the effects of hereditary, behavioral, environmental, and healthcare factors on human health and develop the knowledge bases for disease prevention and control programs. The field is interdisciplinary and has a methodology distinct from, but dependent on, biostatistics. Epidemiologists incorporate into their research the knowledge base and tools of other disciplines including the biologic sciences, clinical research, and other population sciences.

The Epidemiology Unit leads and supports research of relevance to the mission of NIAID and the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, with approaches that include the following:

  • Analysis of national morbidity and mortality datasets (e.g., hospital discharge datasets, Medicare, electronic medical records, registries) to develop and test hypotheses regarding disease prevalence, trends, and risk factors
  • Integrated analysis of observational cohorts with clinical and microbiologic data using multivariable methods to identify relative host and pathogen contributions to infection and disease, including molecular and genetic markers of disease susceptibility
  • Design of clinical and population-based studies with appropriate methods and sampling strategies
  • Spatio-temporal mapping and ecology of infectious diseases
  • Application of machine learning and other data science tools to study disease risk factors and to develop “electronic phenotypes” and clinical algorithms for selected infectious diseases
  • Application of other epidemiological methods such as multivariable modeling, regression modeling, survival analysis, machine learning, risk factor analysis, geospatial and temporal analysis, and data visualization.

Other research areas include pre- and post-licensure vaccine evaluation, defining optimal clinical end-points for clinical trials of vaccines or new therapeutics, and technical evaluation of data underlying science-to-policy issues.

Training is vital to the mission of the Epidemiology Unit, and we maintain ties to schools of public health in the Washington, DC, and Maryland areas, as well as around the country. We provide research training opportunities to post-baccalaureate, postdoctoral, M.P.H., and Ph.D. students. In addition, we maintain ties with national organizations (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration), and international organizations (e.g., World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization) to embed trainees within ongoing research in a public health context.


Dr. Prevots began her public health research career at the New York City Department of Health in 1985, working as a public health advisor in the AIDS surveillance and epidemiology unit. From there she went to the University of Michigan, where she earned her M.P.H. in 1988 and her Ph.D. in epidemiology in 1991. Upon completing her Ph.D., she joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During her time at CDC, she worked primarily on the epidemiology of vaccine preventable diseases, as well as HIV/AIDS. After joining NIAID in 2003, she began focusing on studies related to the epidemiology of tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacteria. In 2007, she became chief of the newly created epidemiology section in LCID and is working primarily on studies of nontuberculous mycobacteria but is also involved on a range of studies related to other infectious diseases.

Research Group

D. Rebecca Prevots, Ph.D., M.P.H., Epidemiologist and Associate Scientist, LCIM, DIR, NIAID; Adjunct faculty, George Washington University School of Public Health

Jennifer Kwan, Ph.D., Epidemiologist

Emily Ricotta, Ph.D., Sc.M.

Samantha Dean, Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellow

Selected Publications

Daniel-Wayman S, Abate G, Barber DL, Bermudez LE, Coler RN, Cynamon MH, Daley CL, Davidson RM, Dick T, Floto RA, Henkle E, Holland SM, Jackson M, Lee RE, Nuermberger EL, Olivier KN, Ordway DJ, Prevots DR, Sacchettini JC, Salfinger M, Sassetti CM, Sizemore CF, Winthrop KL, Zelazny AM. Advancing translational science for pulmonary NTM infections: a roadmap for research. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 Nov 14. Epub ahead of print.

Ricotta EE, Olivier KN, Lai YL, Prevots DR, Adjemian J. Hospital-based antibiotic use in patients with Mycobacterium avium complex. ERJ Open Res. 2018 Nov 2;4(4).

Wills AB, Adjemian J, Fontana JR, Steiner CA, Daniel-Wayman S, Olivier KN, Prevots DR. Sarcoidosis-associated hospitalizations in the United States, 2002 to 2012. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2018 Dec;15(12):1490-1493.

Adjemian J, Olivier KN, Prevots DR. Epidemiology of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial sputum positivity in patients with cystic fibrosis in the United States, 2010-2014. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2018 Jul;15(7):817-826.

Kadri SS, Adjemian J, Lai YL, Spaulding AB, Ricotta E, Prevots DR, Palmore TN, Rhee C, Klompas M, Dekker JP, Powers JH 3rd, Suffredini AF, Hooper DC, Fridkin S, Danner RL; National Institutes of Health Antimicrobial Resistance Outcomes Research Initiative (NIH–ARORI). Difficult-to-treat resistance in gram-negative bacteremia at 173 US hospitals: retrospective cohort analysis of prevalence, predictors, and outcome of resistance to all first-line agents. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 28;67(12):1803-1814.

Kwan JL, Seitz AE, Fried M, Lee KL, Metenou S, Morrison R, Kabyemela E, Nutman TB, Prevots DR, Duffy PE. Seroepidemiology of helminths and the association with severe malaria among infants and young children in Tanzania. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Mar 26;12(3):e0006345

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

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