Directors: Michael Caparon, PhD, and Scott Hultgren, PhD
Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research (cWIDR)
Addressing infectious diseases of the female urinary and reproductive tracts
Infectious diseases in women are a major world health problem. We aim to understand infectious processes at a fundamental level and quickly translate that knowledge into better methods of treatment and prevention.
Prevent and treat infectious diseases of the urinary and reproductive tracts to alleviate suffering worldwide
Recognize commonalities and apply effective solutions broadly
Explain diseases not yet known to be related to infection
Prepare the next generation of science leaders
We are conducting the collaborative science needed to discover new drugs and vaccines that will make a huge difference in the lives of millions of women and children all over the world.
The Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research (cWIDR) is dedicated to finding better methods for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases of the female urinary and reproductive tracts.
Women's infectious diseases cause a tremendous amount of human suffering worldwide, but are underserved in medical science. Urinary tract infections, for example, although not fatal, are a significant source of suffering, lost work days and health care expense; some infections experienced during pregnancy or at birth can lead to serious disease in the newborn, and infection may also play a role in some autoimmune disorders and other chronic diseases. By finding ways to effectively treat or prevent these infections, cWIDR's work holds the promise to significantly improve the lives of women and their families worldwide.
Topics of study include:
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Infections that lead to premature delivery and vaginitis
Life-threatening infections in newborn infants
Potential contributing roles for microorganisms in life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders and diabetes
Interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome
Sexually transmitted diseases
Toxic shock syndrome
Serious infections affecting the fetus and newborn
Researchers at cWIDR also study whether microorganisms play a role in serious diseases not previously known to be related to infection. For example, we now know, surprisingly, that stomach ulcers and most cervical cancers are the result of infections. Similarly, research now suggests that bacteria may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease plaques and that the immune system contributes to vascular plaque formation.
cWIDR scientists work in collaboration with colleagues from other research centers, including The Genome Institute. The result is a synergistic network of experts from microbial pathogenesis, genomics, structural biology, biochemistry and biophysics, imaging and other areas. cWIDR scientists hope to identify common mechanisms of infection and to devise solutions that can be applied in multiple diseases.
Director: Scott Hultgren, PhD, Helen L. Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology
Co-Director: Michael Caparon, PhD, professor of molecular microbiology