Dr. Marrazzo steps in as the sixth NIAID Director in the fall of 2023, where she oversees a $6.3 billion budget that supports research to advance the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. She is internationally recognized for her research and education efforts in the field of sexually transmitted infections, especially as they affect women’s health. Dr. Marrazzo’s research in discovery and implementation science has focused on the human microbiome, specifically as it relates to female reproductive tract infections and hormonal contraception; prevention of HIV infection using biomedical interventions, including preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and microbicides; and the pathogenesis and management of bacterial vaginosis (BV), sexually transmitted diseases in HIV-infected persons, and management of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhea.
Her investigative career has been characterized by leadership of progressively larger interdisciplinary teams working to advance translational science in two major areas: approaches to detect non-cultivatable or highly fastidious bacteria in BV and oral and vaginal PrEP for HIV infection in women. In early studies, Dr. Marrazzo and her collaborators described bacterial diversity in BV that was much greater than previously thought. They also identified previously undescribed anaerobes in the Clostridiales group that were highly specific for BV. This work redefined understanding of the complex nature of this enigmatic syndrome. Another signal contribution has been her work to advance oral and vaginal PrEP for HIV infection in women. Dr. Marrazzo led the NIH-funded VOICE Study in which over 12,000 women were screened to enroll 5,729 participants in sub-Saharan Africa. The intent-to-treat analysis showed no efficacy and demonstrated that this surprising result was largely due to low adherence, despite participants’ self-reports of high adherence. Working with behavioral science colleagues to understand these responses, her team established the need for reliable biomarkers of adherence in intervention studies of healthy young people at risk for HIV.
Prior to her position at NIAID, Dr. Marrazzo was Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. There she had the opportunity and resources to lead in the areas she cares deeply about: research in discovery and implementation science; the development and support of trainees; the advancement of underrepresented minorities in medicine and leadership; promoting meaningful dialogue with communities, and patient care.
Dr. Marrazzo has served as a mentor to trainees at all stages of professional development and was the recipient of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association’s Distinguished Career Award, the highest recognition of contributions to research and mentoring in the field. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and is board certified in infectious disease. Dr. Marrazzo also has chaired the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Council and the ABIM Infectious Disease Specialty Board. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University; her M.D. from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; and her M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Washington, Seattle. She completed residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital.