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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Florida International Researcher Receives NIAID Grant for HPV Research

Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, an associate professor of epidemiology at Florida International University’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health, was awarded $439,500 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for her HPV research.

[Photo: Dr. Purnima Madhivanan]

Dr. Madhivanan is the principal investigator on a grant titled “Longitudinal Study of Vaginal Microbiota and Persistent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Detection.”

In the U.S, there are about seven million new genital HPV infections with high-risk oncogenic HPV types each year. About 10 percent of these, or 700,000, are persistent; this is an important risk factor for cervical dysplasia and invasive cervical cancer.

The dynamics of HPV infection and the subsequent development of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia are not well understood. This three-year study will characterize the temporal relationship of vaginal microbiota associated with detection of oncogenic HPV and persistence of oncogenic HPV infections.

Although HPV vaccines are available, each year there are still more than 528,000 new cases and 266,000 deaths worldwide from cervical cancer related to persistent HPV infections. Dr. Madhivanan’s research will provide more data on how microbial imbalances allow HPV to bypass vaginal defenses to infect basal epithelial cells—providing information that could contribute to more effective vaccines.