Ina Schuppe Koistinen recieves research grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
Ina Schuppe Koistinen has received a research grant from SSF, for a project that aims to determine how the composition of the vaginal microbiome differs in healthy women from women diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis and candida infections.
Can you tell us about the research grant you received?
I received a research grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, SSF, as part of the SSF Industry Doctoral Student program. The grant covers the costs for a PhD student shared with an industrial partner to stimulate need-driven research in SSF’s areas of science, technology and medicine.
Tell us about your project.
We are only beginning to understand how the vaginal microbiome is intimately linked to women’s health. In this PhD-project, advanced sequencing techniques coupled with computational pipelines, machine learning techniques and mathematical modelling will be used to determine the microbial etiology of bacterial vaginosis and factors associated with an antibiotic-free treatment under development at our partner company Gedea Biotech.
The project aims to determine how the composition of the vaginal microbiome differs in healthy women from women diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis and candida infections. Furthermore, the impact of antibiotic and antibiotic-free treatments on the vaginal microbiome and risk of recurrence will be studied. In the process of understanding the microbial mechanisms involved in the success of this product, we will also develop deeper understanding of dynamics of recurrence and train a professional ready to bridge the gap between basic science and industrial applications in women’s health and microbiome sciences.
Who is taking part in the study?
We partner up with Gedea Biotech, a small company in Lund that develops an antibiotic-free treatment of bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis. Helena Strevens, senior consultant in obstetrics and gynecology at Skåne University Hospital and medical officer at Gedea is our co-applicant. At the Centre for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR) Gabriella Edfeldt and Luisa Hugerth will be co-supervising the student with me.
Which patient groups will benefit from the research and how?
Bacterial vaginosis is a common and recurring vaginal infection with a disturbed vaginal microbiome among women of reproductive age. It is associated with adverse health outcomes, such as susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections, reduced fertility, pre-term birth, HPV infection and gynaecological cancers.
Recommended first-line treatments for BV are antibiotics with high initial cure rates but up to 50% of patients experience recurrence of BV within one year leading to repeated treatment with antibiotics adding to the global issue of antibiotic resistance. Only through carefully considering the impact of interventions on the vaginal microbiome, can we better treat common diseases like bacterial vaginosis and improve women’s health and fertility.