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The vaginal microbiome project team. Characterizing the role of the vaginal microbiome in health and disease

  • Project Leaders: Deborah Money, Alan Bocking, Janet Hill, Sean Hemmingsen
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $2327122
  • Program/Competition: Partner Programs
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2010
  • Status: Closed

Advances in genome sequencing and bioinformatics have provided new tools to systematically investigate the human microbiome, and the opportunity to decipher the role that microbes play in health and disease. This project studied the human vaginal microbiome to identify the bacterial species present under various conditions over a woman’s lifespan, with the long term goal to develop novel diagnostic tools and interventions to restore and retain health. Major research themes included understanding of the vaginal microbiome, and also the associations behind vaginal microbiota and preterm delivery, genital tract infection, and reproductive health. Conditions associated with an imbalance in vaginal microbiota afflict several million Canadian women each year, and accumulate health care costs of billions of dollars annually. The project successfully identified different microbiome profiles in the different health states that could lead to the development of new screening tests and treatments. This project furthered out understanding of the role of the vaginal microbiome in women’s health and it is hoped to lead to impacts in the care of women in Canada and around the world.