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Sexually Transmitted Infections Cooperative Research Center


Project 1: Impact of HSV-2 shedding on the vaginal microbiome in the female genital tract
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and bacterial vaginosis (BV) are two of the most prevalent infections of the female genital tract. Both infections are associated increased risk for HIV acquisition. While HSV-2 and BV have been epidemiologically linked in many studies, the direction and mechanism of their interaction is not known. More...

Project 2: Establishing microbial and biochemical thresholds for development and persistence of bacterial vaginosis
The microbial environment in the human vagina is extremely dynamic. Bacterial communities can shift dramatically from lactobacillus predominance, to a diverse, polymicrobial state, which is a fundamental characteristic of bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is a clinically important condition associated with vaginal discharge as well as heightened risk of preterm birth, pelvic inflammatory disease, post-surgical infections, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Unfortunately, little is known about the factors that prompt transitions between simple and complex microbial communities and in particular, why BV commonly recurs following antibiotic treatment. More...

Project 3: Urethral microbiome and non-gonococcal urethritis in men who have sex with men (MSM)
Up to 50% of urethritis cases, the most common male reproductive tract syndrome, have no known etiology. Imbalances in the microbiota (dysbiosis) are increasingly recognized as factors in the development of clinical syndromes and may cause urethritis. In heterosexual men, Leptotrichia/Sneathia spp., were significantly associated with idiopathic non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) and men with NGU had distinctive urethral microbial communities (e.g., lower species diversity and higher abundance of Lactobacillis iners and Gardnerella vaginalis than men without NGU), suggesting that the microbiota may play a causal role in the development of urethritis. More...

Project 4: Effects of a contraceptive ring on vaginal microbiota and local immunity
The objective of this proposal is to study effects of a contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR) on vaginal bacteria in women, and relate these changes to key measures of soluble mucosal host immune defense. More...

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