Drs. Hemant Tiwari and William Geisler recently received funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to investigate determinants of genetic and epigenetic Chlamydia trachomatis (Chlamydia) reinfection in women.

hemant tiwari 600x450Dr. Hemant TiwariDrs. Hemant Tiwari, Professor in the Department of Biostatistics in the UAB School of Public Health, and William Geisler, Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently received funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to investigate determinants of genetic and epigenetic Chlamydia trachomatis (Chlamydia) reinfection in women. Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the world and can be detrimental to women’s reproductive health, potentially leading to ectopic pregnancy, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. Chlamydia disproportionately affects African Americans who have an almost 6 times higher infection rate than Caucasians. Additionally, approximately 20% of patients are reinfected within one year, suggesting that the immune response in some persons is not sufficient to prevent reinfection. Therefore, better prevention methods, such as a vaccine, are needed. However, in order to develop a vaccine, a clear understanding of the immune system’s response to Chlamydia infection is needed and this understanding is currently incomplete. The fundamental hypothesis of this proposal is that epigenetic variation, or molecular factors that influence how genes behave, affects the immune response to the initial Chlamydia infection and thus the risk of reinfection. The hope is that this work will allow the investigators to identify potential vaccine targets in the immune system. The award period is two years. For more information, please visit NIH RePORTER.

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