Genome British Columbia - Genome Genomics

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Vaginal Microbiome Team

Project Leader:
Deborah Money

Lead Institution:
University of British Columbia

Research Funding Program:
Canadian Microbiome Initiative (with CIHR)

Recent advances in genomic sequencing and bioinformatics have provided adequate tools to investigate the human microbiome, and the opportunity for Canadian research teams to uniquely contribute to deciphering the role that microbes play in health and disease. Studies of the human vaginal microbiome represent a niche area where Canada has significant expertise, research capacity, and preexisting infrastructure upon which to build. The Vaginal Microbiome Project Team - VMPT - will place Canada at the forefront of research into the role of vaginal bacterial communities in health and disease.

While our current collaboration represents an established scientific and clinical program, success in this competition will allow the extended team to not only identify the bacterial species present under various conditions over a woman's lifespan, but develop novel diagnostic tools and interventions to restore and retain health. Major research themes will continue with understanding of the core vaginal microbiome, but also explore 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. This project is expected to lead to significant breakthroughs in the care of women in Canada and around the world.