Episode 8: The vaginal microbiome with Dr. Jacques Ravel

This was a particularly exciting episode as we had our first conversation about the vaginal microbiome on The Microbiome Podcast. We had Dr. Jacques Ravel from The University of Maryland School of Medicine on the podcast who is one of the world’s experts in the vaginal microbiome. Dr. Ravel gave a great overview of the vaginal microbiome and it’s importance for women’s health. He also announced a new initiative that is launching today, June 1st, that Jacques started called Your Private Biome. Your Private Biome is a citizen science project that allows women and their partners to sample their vaginal and penile microbiome and receive information of what their microbiome looks like and how it compares to other people in the study. The AMI is sponsoring free sampling for a number of people who are interested in participating in the study

On this week’s podcast we discuss:

  • (1:20) The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit ideas from various stakeholders on the future needs of microbiome research. Read the RFI.
  • (2:55) A recent paper out of Curtis Huttenhower’s laboratory describing how microbiome samples could be traced back to their hosts and if this could be used to track individuals related to forensics and other applications. Read the paper. Read our blog post on the paper
  • (5:22) We begin our conversation with Dr. Jacques Ravel. Read more about Dr. Ravel’s research
  • (5:47) Dr. Jacques Ravel gives an introduction to the vaginal microbiome. Read more about his research laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
  • (8:23) Dr. Ravel mentions a paper by Dr. Larry Forney about the vaginal microbiome of adolescent girls. Read the paper.  
  • (20:10) Other health issues related the microbiome such as bacterial vaginosis and STDs.
  • (30:30) A new citizen science project called Your Private Biome that offers women as well as their partners and families that allows women to sample their vaginal microbiome. Read more about Your Private Biome
  • (34:59) A paper on circumcision and it’s influence on bacterial load on the penis. Read the paper
  • (40:40) On the after show, David and Bill talk about their own health issues, specifically allergies.
  • (46:15) During our conversation of Bill’s cat allergies, we mention the Kitty Microbiome. Learn more here.

Remember to call in to ask any questions about the microbiome that you would like answered on future podcasts. The number is 518-945-8583.