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cWIDR Mission


The Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research (cWIDR, pronounced “see-wider”) is investigating common, but often overlooked infections that prey on women by building a new, innovative field at the intersection of women’s health, microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases.

Our mission is to improve the lives of women and their families by discovering key processes underlying infectious diseases and translating our discoveries into effective treatments and preventive therapies.

Why Infectious Disease?

MRSA, SARS, the Flu--Infectious diseases are in the news every day and circulating all around us. For women, some infections are extremely common and present unique challenges. A few infections, such as vaginosis, only affect women; for others like urinary tract infection, women simply contract the infection more often than men. There is rising evidence that the estrous cycle affects how some infections develop and progress. Infections experienced during pregnancy or at birth, such as Group B Streptococcus, also can be spread and lead to serious disease in the newborn. In addition, the progression to chronic disease and some autoimmune disorders may be triggered in part by infection.

How is the cWIDR tackling these diseases?

Core investigators in the cWIDR are increasing the search for new ways to treat pathogenic diseases.  Researching ways to block disease, we are discovering crucial steps in:

  • diseases that cause preterm birth or birth defects
  • life threatening infections in newborn infants
  • vaginal infections
  • acute and chronic urinary tract infections
  • interstitial cystitis
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • toxic shock syndrome

cWIDR: Fostering a Collaborative Research Community

We are building the cWIDR to be a vibrant and supportive community of researchers that aim to improve the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases to enhance human health. These goals will be accomplished by:

  • actively recruiting new faculty scientists to the cWIDR
  • engaging established basic science and clinical faculty to join the membership
  • initiating collaborative interactions between members
  • encouraging the translation of research findings into the development of new therapies

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