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Vonetta Edwards, PhD

Academic Title:

Research Associate

Primary Appointment:

Microbiology and Immunology


Institute for Genome Sciences. Health Sciences Facility III (HSFIII) 670 W Baltimore Street, Baltimore MD 20201

Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

St Francis College, BS, Biology, 2003          

Long Island University – Brooklyn Campus, MS, Molecular Biology, 2006          

University of Maryland – College Park, Ph.D., Biological Sciences , 2012      

University of Maryland – Baltimore, Postdoctoral study, Host Pathogenesis, 2018


My research focuses on applying cell culture models to decipher the translatability of observed ‘omics data. The current focus is analyzing the role of the vaginal microbiome in modulating the susceptibility of host cells to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which will eventually translate into better diagnostics, prevention, and therapeutics. My training in cell culture, molecular and cellular biology, microbiology and more recently bioinformatics has provided me the tools to conduct and implement multi-disciplinary research.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Host-pathogen interactions, Vaginal microbiome, Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Cervical-vaginal models, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Female reproductive tract, Reproductive hormones

Highlighted Publications

Edwards VL, Smith SB, McComb EJ, Tamarelle J, Ma B, Humphrys MS, Gajer P, Gwilliam K, Schaefer AM, Lai SK, Terplan M, Mark KS, Brotman RM, Forney LJ, Bavoil PM, Ravel J. The Cervicovaginal Microbiota-Host Interaction Modulates Chlamydia trachomatis Infection. mBio. 2019 Aug 13;10(4):e01548-19. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01548-19. PMID: 31409678; PMCID: PMC6692509.

Breshears LM, Edwards VL, Ravel J, Peterson ML. Lactobacillus crispatus inhibits growth of Gardnerella vaginalis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae on a porcine vaginal mucosa model. BMC Microbiol. 2015 Dec 9;15:276. doi: 10.1186/s12866-015-0608-0. PMID: 26652855; PMCID: PMC4675025.

Edwards VL, Wang LC, Dawson V, Stein DC, Song W. Neisseria gonorrhoeae breaches the apical junction of polarized epithelial cells for transmigration by activating EGFR. Cell Microbiol. 2013 Jun;15(6):1042-57. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12099. Epub 2013 Jan 21. PMID: 23279089; PMCID: PMC5584544.