The Microbiome

Project Title: Maternal Microbiome Legacy Project

Principal Investigator: Dr. Deborah Money

Primary Contact: Zahra Pakzad, Research Manager, 604-875-2424 ext. 6379,

About the study: The role of bacterial communities throughout the body in health and disease is being widely studied. Preliminary research shows a possible link between delivery type (vaginal or caesarean delivery) and the bacterial communities found in the gut in early infancy. In Canada 1 in 4 women have a caesarean delivery and there is some evidence of increased risk of conditions such as asthma, celiac disease, and allergies in caesarean-born infants. To date no cause for this increased risk has been identified. Some researchers have proposed that this potential transfer of maternal vaginal bacteria may be prevented by a caesarean delivery. This may result in altering the establishment of the infant’s own bacterial community. However, a clear link between delivery type and the infant’s bacterial community has not been established. This study will use advanced gene-based methods to profile the bacterial communities present in women who deliver vaginally or via caesarean section and connect these to the infant gut bacterial community in the first 3 months of life. This research will lead to a deeper understanding of the potential role of the maternal bacterial community on the infant gut bacterial community.

Study status: Recruitment closed

Co-Investigators: Dr. Janet Hill (University of Saskatchewan), Dr. K.S. Joseph (University of British Columbia), Dr. Julie van Schalkwyk (University of British Columbia), Dr. Arianne Albert (B.C. Women’s Hospital, Vancouver), Dr. Chelsea Elwood (University of British Columbia), Dr. Soren Grantt (University of British Columbia), Dr. Kirsten Grabowska (University of British Columbia), Dr. Jennifer Hutcheon (University of British Columbia), Dr. Matthew Links (University of Saskatchewan), Dr. Amee Manges (University of British Columbia), Dr. Sheona Mitchell (University of British Columbia), Dr. Tim Dumonceaux (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatchewan), Dr. Zoe Hodgson (B.C. Women’s Hospital), Dr. Janet Lyons (University of British Columbia).

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

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Project Title: Vaginal Microbiome Group Initiative Principal

Investigator: Dr. Deborah Money

Primary Contact: Zahra Pakzad, Research Coordinator, 604-875-2424 ext. 6379,

About the study: The VOGUE study team is comprised of a diverse group of scientists and clinicians from across Canada who are using genomic methods to study the microbial ecosystem (microbiome) of the vagina in varying states of health and disease. The VOGUE research program comprises 5 sub-studies, each examining the vaginal microbiome of distinct clinical populations: healthy non-pregnant women, women living with HIV, women with recurrent vulvovaginitis, pregnant women at low risk for preterm birth, and pregnant women at high risk for preterm birth. The team is united in their goal of capitalizing on advances in genomic sequencing technology to analyze the composition, distribution, and function of vaginal microbes, and probe the links between these microbes and diseases to guide the development of novel diagnostic tools and interventions to improve women’s health in Canada and around the world.

Study status: Recruitment for all sub-studies is complete. Data analysis, manuscript development, and knowledge translation are also now complete.

Co-Investigators: Dr. Alan Bocking (University of Toronto), Dr. Sean Hemmingsen (National Research Council’s Plant Biotechnology Institute, Saskatchewan), Dr. Janet Hill (University of Saskatchewan), Dr. Gregor Reid (University of Western Ontario), Dr. Tim Dumonceaux (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon), Dr. Gregory Gloor (University of Western Ontario), Dr. Matthew Links (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon), Dr. Kieran O’Doherty (University of Guelph), Dr. Patrick Tang (Sidra Medical and Research Center), Dr. Julie van Schalkwyk (University of British Columbia), Dr. Mark Yudin (University of Toronto).

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Genome BC

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Dos Santos SJ, Shukla I, Hill JE, Money DM, and The Maternal Microbiome Legacy Project Team. (2023). Birth Mode Does Not Determine the Presence of Shared Bacterial Strains between the Maternal Vaginal Microbiome and the Infant Stool Microbiome. Microbiology Spectrum. e00614-23. 

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Dos Santos SJ, Pakzad Z, Albert AYK, Elwood CN, Grabowska K, Links MG, Hutcheon JA, Maan EJ, Manges AR, Dumonceaux TJ, Hodgson ZG, Lyons J, Mitchell Foster SM, Gantt S, Joseph KS, Van Schalkwyk JE, Hill JE and Money DM. (2023). Maternal vaginal microbiome composition does not affect development of the infant gut microbiome in early life. Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 13:1144254.

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Dos Santos SJ, Pakzad Z, Elwood CN, Albert AYK, Gantt S, Manges AR, Dumonceaux TJ, Maan EJ, Hill JE, Money DM; Maternal Microbiome Legacy Project Team. Early Neonatal Meconium Does Not Have a Demonstrable Microbiota Determined through Use of Robust Negative Controls with cpn60-Based Microbiome Profiling. Microbiol Spectr. 2021 Oct 31;9(2):e0006721.

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Yang S, Reid G, Challis JRG, Gloor GB, Asztalos E, Money D, Seney S, Bocking AD. (2020). Effect of Oral Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 on the Vaginal Microbiota,Cytokines and Chemokines in Pregnant Women. Nutrients.  2020: 12(2): 368.

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Jenkins A, Money D, O'Doherty KC. Is the vaginal cleansing product industry causing harm to women? Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2020 Sep 29:1-3. doi: 10.1080/14787210.2020.1822166. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32909859.

C Elwood, AYK Albert, E McClymont, E Wagner, D Mahal, K Devakandan, BL Quigley, Z Pakzad, MH Yudin, JE Hill, D Money, and the VOGUE Research Group. Different and diverse anaerobic microbiota were seen in women living with HIV with unsuppressed HIV viral load and in women with recurrent bacterial vaginosis: a cohort study. BJOG. Jan 2020: 27 (2), 250-259.

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Sara Crann, Shannon Cunningham (co-first author), Arianne Albert, Deborah Money, Kieran O'Doherty. Vaginal health and hygiene practices and product use in Canada: A national cross-sectional survey. BMC Womens Health. 2018 Mar 23;18(1):52. doi: 10.1186/s12905-018-0543-y.

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Freitas, Aline, Hill Janet, Bocking, Alan, Money Deborah. “Increased richness and diversity of the vaginal microbiota and spontaneous preterm birth”. Microbiome. 2018 Jun 28;6(1):117. doi: 10.1186/s40168-018-0502-8

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Freitas AC, Chaban B, Bocking A, Rocco M, Yang S, Hill JE, Money DM; VOGUE Research Group. (2017). The vaginal microbiome of pregnant women is less rich and diverse, with lower prevalence of Mollicutes, compared to non-pregnant women. Sci Rep.7(1): 9212.

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Crann S, Jenkins A, Money D, O'Doherty K. (2017). Women's genital body work: Health, hygiene and beauty practices in the production of idealized female genitalia. Feminism & Psychology 0(0) 1-20

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Wood J, Crann S, Cunningham S, Money D, O'Doherty, K. (2017). A cross-sectional survey of sex toy use, characteristics of sex toy use hygiene behaviours, and vulvovaginal health outcomes in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 26(3): 196-204.

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Aline C. Freitas; Alan Bocking; Janet E. Hill; Deborah M. Money. Increased richness and diversity of the vaginal microbiota and spontaneous preterm birth. Microbiome, Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 23;7(1):9212. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07790-9.

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Jenkins A, Crann S, Money DM, O’Doherty K. “Clean and Fresh”: Understanding Women’s use of Vaginal Hygiene Products. Sex roles. 2018;78:697-709.

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Paramel Jayaprakash T, Wagner EC, van Schalkwyk J, Albert AY, Hill JE, Money DM, and PPROM Study Group. High Diversity and Variability in the Vaginal Microbiome in Women following Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM): A Prospective Cohort Study. PLOS ONE. 2016 Nov 18;11(11):e0166794. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166794. eCollection 2016.

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van Schalkwyk J, Yudin M; Infectious Disease Committee, Yudin M, Allen V, Bouchard C, Boucher M, Boucoiran I, Caddy S, Castillo E, Kennedy V, Money DM, Murphy K, Ogilvie G, Paquet C, van Schalkwyk J; Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. Vulvovaginitis: screening for and management of trichomoniasis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, and bacterial vaginosis. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2015 Mar;37(3):266-76.

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Albert AY, Chaban B, Wagner EC, Schellenberg JJ, Links MG, van Schalkwyk J, Reid G, Hemmingsen SM, Hill JE, Money D; VOGUE Research Group. A Study of the Vaginal Microbiome in Healthy Canadian Women Utilizing cpn60-Based Molecular Profiling Reveals Distinct Gardnerella Subgroup Community State Types. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 12;10(8):e0135620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135620. eCollection 2015.

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Chaban B, Links MG, Jayaprakash TP, Wagner EC, Bourque DK, Lohn Z, Albert AY, van Schalkwyk J, Reid G, Hemmingsen SM, Hill JE, Money DM. Characterization of the vaginal microbiota of healthy Canadian women through the menstrual cycle. Microbiome. 2014 Jul 4;2:23. doi: 10.1186/2049-2618-2-23. 

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