Ocular surface microbiome and the host response in trachoma

Our lab works on many aspects of trachoma including programmatic control, vaccine development and immunopathogenesis. Trachoma is a conjunctivitis caused by infection with Chlamydia trachomatis. Trachoma remains the leading global infectious cause of blindness. We know that much of the pathology in trachoma takes place in the presence of non-chlamydial secondary infections at a time when Ct is virtually undetectable. This has led us to study bacterial communities of the eye both by culture and 16S-deep sequencing.  There remains some controversy amongst ophthalmologists whether a stable resident microbial community exists on the ocular surface, and if it's of sufficient viability and biomass to impact local immune responses. Lending weight to the importance of the ocular microbiota in ocular immunity two recently published papers in murine models have suggested that the ocular microbiota stimulates local immune responsiveness and increases resistance to some pathogenic infections. In this talk I will cover our work to investigate the ocular microbiome using 16S-deep sequencing, the host conjunctival response and its relationship with trachomatous disease.