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Vaginal Human Microbiome Project

VaHMP Research Overview

The Vaginal Human Microbiome Project at VCU was funded by the NIH's Human Microbiome Project and with the goal of elucidating the roles of the women's urogenital conditions, physiological states, environmental factors and host genetic components to the structure and composition of the vaginal microbiome. Thousands of visitors to outpatient clinics and hundreds of twin pairs enrolled and contributed tens of thousands of samples and phenotype data to the study. The study asked women to contribute samples from three vaginal sites (mid-vagina, cervix and introitus), the buccal mucosa and the perianal region.

Three types of data were generated as part of the VaHMP project: 16 rRNA amplicon sequences (mostly from vaginal microbes), metagenome sequences from vaginal samples, and genome sequences of bacterial clones selected from vaginal samples. Our species-level analysis of the vaginal microbiome has revealed a diversity of microbial communities and interesting associations with physiological and infectious states. Additionally, we have characterized and compared the genomes of several previously uncharacterized species of importance to women's reproductive health. Our analysis of these rich datasets are ongoing. Please visit the publications page for more detailed information.

Specific Aims

  1. Do genes of the host contribute to the composition of the vaginal microbiome?
  2. What changes in the microbiome are associated with common non-infectious pathological states of the host?
  3. What changes in the vaginal microbiome are associated with relevant infectious diseases and conditions?
Funding:
NIH (NHGRI/NIAID)1UH2AI083263/4UH3AI083263
$7.8 M The Human Microbiome Project (HMP1)
Principal Investigators:
Gregory A. Buck, Ph.D.
Kimberly K. Jefferson, Ph.D.
Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D.
Lindon J. Eaves, Ph.D. (emeritus)
Project Director:
Jennifer M. Fettweis, Ph.D.

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