Emmanuel Amabebe was recently awarded the DWS Travel Grant which enabled him to travel to present his teams work in Brisbane, Australia. He has kindly shared his experience with us below:
I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, UK. I was recently awarded the DWS Travel Grant to present my research project at the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI) in Brisbane, Australia 21-25 March 2023.
Myself and my team work to predict and prevent premature deliveries by investigating changes in the vaginal microflora and resultant immune response. Our research project focusses on the metabolic interactions by which vaginal microorganisms influence the physiologic state of the vaginal environment to maintain health or propagate infection in pregnant and non-pregnant women.
The Whitley Anaerobic Workstation was essential to our work as it helped us to cultivate and trace how supposedly healthy (Lactobacillus iners) and harmful (Mobiluncus curtisii) vaginal bacterial species utilise 13C-labelled glucose to alter the chemical composition of the vagina for their survival. Our results showed that M. curtisii could contribute to the propagation of vaginal infection such as bacterial vaginosis by producing acetate and formate from glucose which can increase vaginal pH and hinder optimal immune response. We have previously reported that acetate is predictive of spontaneous premature delivery especially in pregnant women with symptoms of premature labour. On the other hand, L. iners does not produce significant amounts of infectious metabolites, instead may promote health by producing significant amounts of L-lactate.
I presented our findings in the form of a poster at the SRI meeting which was an exciting opportunity to interact with other scientists and clinicians from all around the world. Attending also allowed me to receive feedback and invitations to collaborate with the hopes of improving the science of women’s reproductive health globally.