Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Reshma Kodimerla L&S Sciences

Characterization of the Vaginal Microbiome Following Treatment for Chlamydia among Fijian Women

Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is the leading bacterial cause of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) worldwide with over 130 million people newly infected each year. Among Fijian women, Ct is hyperendemic—17.85% are infected whereas the global prevalence is 4.2%. There is growing concern that antibiotic treatment for Ct may contribute to an imbalance in the vaginal microbial composition which increases the risk of STIs like Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), human Papillomavirus (HPV), HIV-13 and possibly reinfection with Ct. My research will elucidate the effects of Azithromycin treatment on the vaginal microbiota among Fijian women with Ct at baseline who clear or do not clear their infection at follow-up compared to age-matched women who are uninfected and who either remain uninfected or develop Ct infection. This will help reveal the role antibiotic treatment plays in the vaginal microbial diversity, imbalance, and disease pathogenesis and the beneficial microbiota that can be used as a therapeutic during or post treatment.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank the Pergo Foundation, SURF, and my mentors for providing me with this unique opportunity to further develop my interests in translational research. This fellowship has allowed me to thoroughly immerse myself in conducting independent research. I've learned how to critically evaluate previous studies, generate hypotheses, understand my initial results, and present my research to my peers. As a result, I am excited to see how much more I will grow as a scholar as I work on my honors thesis analyzing the data I've collected these past few months.
Profile image of Reshma Kodimerla
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Public Health
Mentor: Deborah Dean
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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