Setting the Stage: An Overview of Advances and Controversies in Vaginal Microbiome Research

Identification: Marrazzo, Jeanne


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Setting the Stage: An Overview of Advances & Controversies in Vaginal Microbiome Research
 
Jeanne M. Marrazzo
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA
 
The advances afforded by molecular definition of the vaginal bacterial community have transformed our understanding not only of the syndrome of bacterial vaginosis (BV), but of the critical role that an optimal environment has in ensuring healthy reproductive outcomes and protection from infection with HIV-1 and other sexually transmitted infections. The “discovery phase” of this work yielded definition of numerous “new” species, many of which had already been cultivated but were not definitively identified. Some of these species were highly specific for BV, and some have been individually—or in limited combinations--associated with surrogate markers of inflammation, clinical endpoints, and sexual transmission. However, even with high-throughput sequencing, intensive sampling and collection of meta-data, and sophisticated computational biology and bioinformatics, a more detailed understanding of the pathogenesis and natural history of BV has been elusive, and few practical implications -for example, better approaches to management and prevention—have resulted. This talk will introduce the rationale for this symposium with emphasis on what we have learned from the last two decades of this work, and outline what we hope to achieve at the meeting to help move the field of vaginal microbiome research to the next level of translational significance.  
 

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