Chlamydial sexually transmitted diseases and trachoma

Investigator: Deborah Dean, MD, MPH

Location(s): Nepal; Viet Nam; Thailand; Guatemala; Mexico; Nicaragua; Ecuador


Prevention of Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection represents a critical unmet medical need. Ct causes blinding trachoma and sexually transmitted diseases that can result in infertility, ectopic pregnancy. Ct is also an important cofactor in cervical cancer and HIV transmission. It is the leading bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) worldwide with over 110 million cases worldwide according to the World Health Organization. Ct is also the leading cause of preventable blindness (referred to as trachoma) worldwide with an estimated 600 million cases with 9 million blind and over 150 million at risk for visual impairment or blindness. Because Ct is an obligate intracellular pathogen, developing a gene transfer system to study the effect of different genes has been difficult. Understanding gene function can lead to the development of potential targeted treatment and a vaccine. Our lab was the first to recognize that Ct undergoes recombination as an evolutionary strategy, and to perform comparative genomes on multiple different strains of the species, both of which have provided clues to developing a gene transfer system.

 My current research focuses on rapid assays to detect Neisseria gonorrhea antibiotic resistance at the point of care.