Amy Scurlock, M.D., is an Assistant Professor who completed her Allergy/Immunology Fellowship in 2004. In this application, she describes a multi-faceted, 5-year research and educational training program that will expand her scientific skills by integrating the enthusiastic mentorship of her experienced sponsor, Dr. Roger Rank, and scientific advisory committee with numerous institutional resources. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) with Chlamydia trachomatis are the most common bacterial STI in both the United States and worldwide and represent a significant public health concern. At present, there are no biomarkers to predict potentially devastating reproductive complications, such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy, associated with Chlamydia infections. The research plan will evaluate the expanding diversity of effector and regulatory CD4+ T-cell responses following Chlamydia infection. The central hypothesis proposes that the CD4+ Th17 lineage is a pathologic CD4+ effector response that promotes reproductive tract pathology following Chlamydia genital tract infection. Employing a series of in vivo experiments in an established mouse model, the hypothesis will be tested by the following Specific Aims: 1) Determine the role of the Th17 response in development of reproductive tract pathology following chlamydial genital tract infection, 2) Examine the interaction between Th17 and T-regulatory cells in modulating the outcome of Chlamydia genital tract infection. Information gained from the proposed studies will advance Dr. Scurlock's immediate and long-term career objectives to expand her technical and analytical research skills, develop biomarkers for adverse disease outcomes following Chlamydia STI, and translate findings in the basic immunology laboratory into clinically relevant prevention and intervention strategies for STI. The PI will take advantage of strong mentoring, protected research time, and outstanding academic resources at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute to reach her goal of becoming an independent investigator with an established scientific niche in genital tract mucosal immunology.

Public Health Relevance

Sexually transmitted Chlamydia trachomatis infections are a significant public health problem due to their high frequency and risk of reproductive complications including infertility and ectopic pregnancy. This project evaluates the newly described T-helper 17 response as an important contributor to Chlamydia-induced reproductive tract tissue damage.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
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Hiltke, Thomas J
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Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute
Little Rock
United States
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Burks, A Wesley; Wood, Robert A; Jones, Stacie M et al. (2015) Sublingual immunotherapy for peanut allergy: Long-term follow-up of a randomized multicenter trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol 135:1240-8.e1-3
Scurlock, Amy M; Frazer, Lauren C; Andrews Jr, Charles W et al. (2011) Interleukin-17 contributes to generation of Th1 immunity and neutrophil recruitment during Chlamydia muridarum genital tract infection but is not required for macrophage influx or normal resolution of infection. Infect Immun 79:1349-62
O'Connell, Catherine M; AbdelRahman, Yasser M; Green, Erin et al. (2011) Toll-like receptor 2 activation by Chlamydia trachomatis is plasmid dependent, and plasmid-responsive chromosomal loci are coordinately regulated in response to glucose limitation by C. trachomatis but not by C. muridarum. Infect Immun 79:1044-56
Vickery, Brian P; Scurlock, Amy M; Jones, Stacie M et al. (2011) Mechanisms of immune tolerance relevant to food allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 127:576-84; quiz 585-6
Woods, Jennifer L; Bailey, Sarabeth L; Hensel, Devon J et al. (2011) Cervicitis in adolescents: do clinicians understand diagnosis and treatment? J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 24:359-64
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Varshney, Pooja; Jones, Stacie M; Scurlock, Amy M et al. (2011) A randomized controlled study of peanut oral immunotherapy: clinical desensitization and modulation of the allergic response. J Allergy Clin Immunol 127:654-60
Scurlock, Amy M; Jones, Stacie M (2010) An update on immunotherapy for food allergy. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 10:587-93
Tan, Chun; Hsia, Ru-ching; Shou, Huizhong et al. (2009) Chlamydia trachomatis-infected patients display variable antibody profiles against the nine-member polymorphic membrane protein family. Infect Immun 77:3218-26