Medical Professional Publications

Research Now: Examining How Gonnoccal Infections Target the Cervix and Impact Pregnancy

Dr. Jennifer Edwards, principal investigator in the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis is investigating cervical infections and infection of the protective fetal membranes caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  Such infections during pregnancy can have serious consequences for the mother and the infant.  Specifically, she is examining the combined effects of steroid hormones, oxygen limitation and normal flora on gonnoccoal infection.  By closely mimicking the environment found within the human female genital tract, Dr. Edwards’ lab will provide new insights into how asymptomatic and symptomatic N. gonorrhoeae diseased states occur.  

Goals of her present study are to define:

  • How the human environment affects the ability of gonococci to interact with the innate immune system
  • The contribution of select N. gonorrhoeae and human molecules in promoting cervical and chorioamniotic infections
  • The capability of gonococci to induce cervical ripening (the process during which the cervix softens and becomes more distensible in preparation for labor and delivery)

Select citations:
Djoko KY, Franiek JA, Edwards JL, Falsetta ML, Kidd SP, Potter AJ, Chen NH, Apicella MA, Jennings MP, McEwan AG. Phenotypic characterization of a copA mutant of Neisseria gonorrhoeae identifies a link between copper and nitrosative stress. Infect Immun. 2012 Mar;80(3):1065-71.

Edwards JL, Butler EK. The Pathobiology of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Lower Female Genital Tract Infection. Front Microbiol. 2011;2:102.

Contact: Jennifer Edwards, PhD

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