HIV-exposed microbiome impacts
the severity of co-infection

Patricia Pavlinac, PhD, MS
UW Global Health

William DePaolo, PhD

Do changes in the microbiome caused by infection or antibiotic use after the expression of genes in the enteric pathogen lead to an increase in virulence?

This project seeks to address an important gap in our understanding of enteric infections that occur in an intestinal environment with a low bacterial diversity. It proposes a conceptually innovative hypothesis that the chronic viral infection itself does not drive Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) virulence, but rather the reduced gut microbial diversity caused by the infection. Importantly, this project will evaluate whether restoration of diversity via fecal microbiota transplants can be used a treatment strategy.

To answer these questions an integrated, interdisciplinary approach in mice, humans and bacteria using genomics, microbiology, and immunology will be used. If successful, these findings may re-define how we evaluate and treat at enteric disease not just in HIV but any disease associated with a reduced microbial diversity, and may provide a biological framework to develop microbiota-based therapies.


Patricia Pavlinac, PhD MS, is an epidemiologist and co-director of the Healthy Growth & Development Core of the Global Center for Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents, & Children (Global WACh). Dr. Pavlinac’s research aims to identify interventions to halt morbidity and mortality attributed to enteric and diarrheal diseases. Her other research interests include pediatric tuberculosis, particularly the diagnosis of tuberculosis in pediatric populations.

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