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In just a decade, the BWH Research Division and Laboratory of Genital Tract Biology in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology has had several ground-breaking accomplishments.
This year, the lab celebrates its 10-year anniversary under the leadership of its director and founder, Raina Fichorova, MD, PhD.
“Our lab’s mission is to advance medical knowledge and reproductive health through translational research,” said Fichorova.
The lab has been internationally recognized as a flagship for helping clinicians and scientists better understand the world of microorganisms that exist in a woman’s reproductive organs. Such discoveries have led to the improvement of the health of mothers and babies and brought attention to a new treatment-prevention paradigm of sexually transmitted infections (STI).
For instance, one of the lab’s most recent discoveries involves an STI known as trichomoniasis. There are approximately 5 million new trichomoniasis infections in America and about 170 million new infections globally each year.
The team found that a universally spread parasite that causes trichomoniasis becomes more dangerous to an infected human when the parasite itself becomes infected with a virus. This can lead to harmful inflammation, especially if the person is treated with conventional antibiotics.
Fichorova hopes the research that lies ahead for her lab will amount to a new holistic approach to prevention and treatment of reproductive tract infections that goes beyond antibiotic therapy.
“We know infections and inflammation are at the core of preterm birth,” said Fichorova. “However, conventional antibiotics don’t work to prevent them. We want to come up with a formula to combat inflammation and restore and support the healthy microbes and natural immune defenses against infections.”
Added lab manager Hidemi Yamamoto: “We are very grateful to our lab team, past and present. Without each person’s invaluable contributions, hard work and dedication, the last 10 years could not have been such a glorious success.”