Caroline Mitchell, M.D., MPH

Physician Investigator (Cl)
Obstetrics & Gynecology, Mass General Research Institute
Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Obstetrics Gynecology & Repro. Bio. , Harvard Medical School
MPH University of Washington 2009
MD Harvard Medical School 2002
bacterial vaginosis; hiv; lactobacillus; menopause; microbiome; sexual behavior; vagina; vaginal immune response; vaginal microbiome; vulvovaginal disorders

MOTIF - Vaginal Microbiome Transplant study

Bacterial vaginosis, characterized by a loss of healthy vaginal lactobacillus bacteria, impacts close to 30% of US women and is associated with higher risk for preterm birth, HIV acquisition, and HPV persistence.  In addition, persistent, recurrent symptoms can have a significant impact on quality of life.  Current treatment strategies of vaginal or oral antibiotics fail achieve a durable cure in 30-60% of women. In this FDA-approved study we will recruit healthy women with vaginal lactobacillus to donate vaginal fluid, which will be transplanted into women with recurrent bacterial vaginosis. We will follow recipients to see whether the healthy bacteria remain and colonize, and whether they can prevent bacterial vaginosis.  Donors and the donated fluid are tested for many different types of infection to minimize risk. In addition to helping identify new therapeutic strategies, we hope that this study will provide insights into the basic biology and physiology of vaginal health and the vaginal bacterial community.

MIIO - Microbial Influences on IVF Outcomes

The bacterial community of the female reproductive tract may influence pregnancy implantation and early development.  In this Harvard Catalyst-funded study, we are evaluating the vaginal and gut microbiome of women undergoing IVF to identify individual species, or community signatures that impact the chance of pregnancy.

V2 —Understanding Vulvovaginal Disorders

There are over 10 million office visits yearly for vaginal complaints – and in over 30% of those cases a diagnosis cannot be made. Even when a diagnosis is made, treatment is often ineffective or the benefit is of short duration. We are collecting samples from healthy women and those with vulvovaginal complaints to allow us to identify novel microbes or immune pathways that might be causing symptoms, and to develop better ways to treat symptoms. This work is funded by grants from the NIH and the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation.

Reproductive Immune Response to Microbes

In our basic science lab work, we are using in vitro models of vaginal tissue to study how individual species of bacteria interact with the vaginal immune response. Inflammation in the reproductive tract has been linked to higher risk of HIV acquisition, preterm birth, miscarriage and infertility. By understanding the pathways involved in these responses, we hope to develop strategies to intervene and improve reproductive health. This work is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Mass General Claflin Award.

MsFlash – Living a Healthy Menopause

Dr. Mitchell is a collaborator in a Seattle-based menopause research network that is studying how the vaginal microbial community and vaginal immune response might influence the vaginal symptoms experienced by over half of menopausal women. This work is funded by the NIH.

Consultant 360 Podcast