Candidate: Olamide Jarrett, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She received her BA in biology from Harvard University and MD from the University of Chicago. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at UIC and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Tufts Medical Center. During her fellowship Dr. Jarrett had her initial experience in international HIV/STI (sexually transmitted infection) research, investigating clinical outcomes in HIV-infected patients receiving care in a rural public sector clinic. Her current research interests are in HIV/STI prevention, with a special interest in sub-Saharan African women. Her immediate career goal is to gain additional educational and research experience in the field of STI epidemiology in developing countries, especially as it relates to HIV/STI prevention in women. Dr. Jarrett's long-term objective is to become a productive NIH-funded physician- scientist conducting practical and innovative HIV/STI prevention research in resource-limited countries. Environment and educational plan: UIC is dedicated to the career development of new investigators and in fostering collaborations to expand research opportunities for its faculty. Dr. Jarrett will work wih Dr. Scott McClelland, MD, MPH from the University of Washington (UW), who will serve as her primary mentor for this proposal. In addition, she will work with UIC-based mentors, Drs. Richard Novak and Robert Bailey, who will oversee her research and career development activities at UIC. Her research will be conducted at the Mombasa field site, which Dr. McClelland has been the director of since 2002. The Mombasa field site provides an excellent research environment, an established research laboratory and administrative infrastructure. Many large epidemiologic studies have been successfully completed at the site since it was established in 1993. The proposed educational plan includes work in Kenya, advanced studies in HIV/STI research at UW and UIC, as well as advanced studies in epidemiology and health policy at UIC. Research Plan: Trichomonas vaginalis is the most prevalent curable STI. Additional data are needed to understand the epidemiology of T. vaginalis in the female genital tract. This case-control study will address the interaction between T. vaginalis and vaginal flora by evaluating: 1) the change in total vaginal Lactobacillus spp concentration and total vaginal bacterial load after T. vaginalis infection, and 2) the association between baseline total vaginal bacteria load and T. vaginalis acquisition. We will use non-culture based techniques to assess vaginal bacteria concentrations, which is novel to the study of interactions between vaginal flora and STIs. Behavioral, sexual, and microbiological risk factors that may impact vaginal bacterial concentrations will be studied, in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between vaginal flora of study and T. vaginalis. The results of this study will inform the development of T. vaginalis prevention strategies aimed at the promotion of healthy vaginal flora.
Trichomonas vaginalis, the most prevalent treatable STI, is associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes in women, including preterm labor, pelvic inflammatory disease and HIV-1 transmission. Reducing women's risk of T. vaginalis infection could serve as an important strategy for reducing the rates of these complications. The proposed aims will contribute to our understanding of the interaction between vaginal bacterial flora and T. vaginalis, which will inform the development of public health strategies aimed at the promotion of healthy vaginal bacterial profiles to reduce women's susceptibility to T. vaginalis infection.