The complex microbial community present in the human vagina (vaginal microbiota) is important as imbalances in this population are associated with conditions like vaginosis and pregnancy related complications. Although it is of great importance, the vaginal microbiome of clinically healthy women remains poorly characterized.
The goal of our team is to determine if there is a "core" vaginal microbiome shared by clinically healthy women of reproductive age. We will characterize the vaginal microbiota of women through the menstrual cycle using culture independent methods involving high through-put pyrosequencing of DNA from samples of the microbiota. The results of these studies will create a baseline resource for future studies focused on understanding the relationship between vaginal microbial population structure and pre-term birth.