Duke Ob/Gyn has substantial expertise and world-class research programs in Reproductive ID/immunology.
Investigators and collaborators conduct basic, translational and clinical research in the prevention and treatment of HPV (led by Megan Huchko, MD, MPH) and immunologic responses leading to preterm birth and congenital infections, including cytomegalovirus (CMV), Zika and Hepatitis C infections and COVID-19 (led by Geeta Swamy, MD; Brenna Hughes, MD, MSc; Sarah Dotters-Katz, MD, MMHPE; and Jennifer Gilner, MD, PhD).
The program encompasses work centered on the hypothesis of immune dysfunction in preterm birth, integrating immunologic research with high-risk obstetrical clinical practice to identify new immune system targets for reducing the burden of preterm birth. Immune system tolerance is a requisite for a healthy pregnancy, but not every woman’s immune system is accepting of a growing baby, particularly in women with preexisting immunological conditions. Researchers have partnered with numerous colleagues across Duke, including immunologists and rheumatologists, to pursue this work. Projects that focus on T cell tolerance and preeclampsia in particular have resulted in promising new discoveries, with the goal of identifying new biomarkers to help reduce the incidence of preterm birth in women with preexisting autoimmune disorders.
Additionally, Dr. Geeta Swamy is a member of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and Co-PI of the Duke NIAID Vaccine Treatment & Evaluation Unit network and the CDC Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment network, which conducts clinical trials involving licensed (influenza, pertussis, COVID-19) and novel (group B streptococcus and respiratory syncytial virus) vaccines to prevent maternal infection during pregnancy and early neonatal/infant infections, as well as studies on antibiotic stewardship and pharmacokinetics analyses to ensure adequate, appropriate therapy to prevent maternal and neonatal infections.