Dr. Brandie Taylor

Brandie Taylor, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Brandie Taylor, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, was recently awarded the 2014 American Sexually Transmitted Disease Association (ASTDA) Developmental Award. The ASTDA Developmental Award is designed to encourage new investigators to pursue careers in STD research.

This two-year award will provide support related to Taylor’s research proposal entitled, “Host Genetic Susceptibility to Chlamydia-Associated Reproductive Morbidity,” where she will utilize genomic sequencing to identify new and rare host genetic markers associated with infertility secondary to Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia) genital tract infection. Findings from this initial proposal will provide data for continued research in a larger study designed to build prediction models.

Chlamydia remains the most common bacterial STD in the United States despite aggressive efforts to reduce rates of infection. In some women chlamydia causes permanent damage to the reproductive organs leading to infertility.

“My goal is to contribute to a better understanding of chlamydia and identify genetic and biological markers that can be used to predict risk of reproductive complications following infection,” said Taylor.

“Our previous work has shown that host genetics may contribute to why some women develop infertility following chlamydia and some women do not. This award will provide research support and allow me to obtain the training and practical experiences necessary to better understand the host genetic contribution to infertility following chlamydial genital tract infection.”

Host genetics can be used to identify high risk groups of women who would benefit most from modifying current chlamydial control regimens. This may include increasing the frequency of testing for C. trachomatis so that prompt and proper treatment can be initiated. As an inflammatory response is induced shortly after chlamydial infection, it is very important that women receive prompt treatment to reduce the duration of infection to prevent long-term complications including infertility.

Taylor is the current Director of the Reproductive and Child Health Program at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Her research interests include reproductive and perinatal epidemiology and the role of the host genetics and the immune system in reproductive and pregnancy complications.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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