Dr. Jen Balkus, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health, received her first research project grant (R01) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to understand the relationship between bacterial vaginosis and the risks for developing Chlamydia trachomatis. The grant provides $2.5 million in funding for five years.
“In past epidemiologic studies, we’ve seen a relationship between bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV, and Chlamydia,” Dr. Balkus said. “We think that specific bacteria that are commonly found with BV might be producing molecules that allow Chlamydia to thrive. This has been demonstrated in the lab, but we have not yet observed this relationship directly in humans.”
By using vaginal fluid samples collected from the Mombasa Cohort, an ongoing longitudinal study established since 1993 of more than 500 women in Kenya who are at high risk for sexually-transmitted infections, Dr. Balkus will identify the types of bacteria that live in the vaginal microbiome and whether high concentrations of certain bacteria lead to an increased risk for Chlamydia infection.Friday Letter Submission