Home > Keynotes > Jacques Ravel, PhD

Day 02 | 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
The Vaginal Microbiome and Women’s Health
The vaginal microbiota forms the first line of defense against infection. Population based surveys of the bacteria inhabiting the vagina have shown that several kinds of vaginal microbiota exist that differs in bacterial composition and abundance. Understanding their functions and role in women’s health, their beneficial properties and the factors that disturb them is critical to developing novel strategies to maximize vaginal health.


Get To Know Dr. Jacques Ravel

Dr. Jacques Ravel is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Associate Director for Genomics at the Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. Over the past 15 years he has developed a research program (ravel-lab.org) focused on applying modern genomics technologies and ecological principles to characterize the role and dynamics of the microbial communities inhabiting the human body in health and disease and better define the interactions between the host, the microbes and the environment that drive these ecological systems. Specifically, he is interested in deciphering the role of the vaginal microbiome in women health using clinical genomics and systems biology approaches, in order to develop improved strategy to manage gynecological and obstetrics conditions. He has published over 225 peer-reviewed publications (19,884 citations, h index 61, 43 papers; 100 citation, 5 papers; 500 citations) and has attracted grant income of more than $30 millions dollars with continuous NIH funding since 2005 including two NIH U19 Collaborative Agreements as PI. His laboratory is currently supported by grants from the US National Institute of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the National Science Foundation.

He is the co-Director (PI) of the NIH funded Collaborative Research Center on Sexually Transmitted Diseases entitled “Ecopathogenomics of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (EPSTI – epsti.org)” which aims at applying systems biology approaches to examine the triangular relationship between human genetic variation, sexually transmitted infections and co-infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, HIV and the function of the vaginal microbiome. Further, his laboratory studies the role of the vaginal microbiota in bacterial vaginosis, pregnancy and prematurity, as well as the health of neonates. As part of two commercial initiatives, his work is currently being translated by developing novel live microbiome-based live biotherapeutic formulations targeted to restore vaginal health, treat conditions such as bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections, and improve fertility. His work earned him to be elected to Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) in 2012, and in 2015, he was awarded the Blaise Pascal International Research Chair (www.chaires-blaise-pascal.ens.fr). He is the founder and Editor in Chief of the journal Microbiome (www.microbiomejournal.com), which has achieved an impact factor of 9.5 in a short 5 years, and as a fellow of the AAM, he is an Associate Editor for the journal mBio.

Dr. Ravel received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Maryland College Park in Environmental Molecular Microbiology and Ecology and performed his postdoctoral training as a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research fellow in the Chemistry Department at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD working on the chemistry and bioinformatics natural products. He joined the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2007 as an Associate Professor. Previously, from 2002 to 2007 he was an Assistant Investigator at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, MD, the pioneering institute where the firsts microbial genome was sequenced.