Early Career Research Award Recipient: Dr. Talavera-Barber
Dr. Maria Talavera is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a junior investigator in The Center for Perinatal Research at The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
One of her research interests has focused on the field of gastrointestinal mucosal immunology as a means to identify novel targets to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature infants. Most recently, her research interests have included the role of the microbiome and the virome in the development of NEC with particular interest in the role of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection on the predisposition to develop intestinal inflammation in premature infants.
As a neonatologist, she has witnessed first-hand the impact of congenital CMV infection in the most premature babies, affecting many organ systems including hematologic, gastrointestinal and neurologic resulting in severe long-term sequelae. This proposal seeks to understand the maternal immune factors during pregnancy that could impact the ability to prevent CMV transmission to the fetus during the last trimester. She also will investigate novel viral glycoproteins as potential targets for vaccine development.
Their hypothesis is that maternal anti-HCMV antibodies decline in virus neutralizing potential between first and third trimesters, contributing to the risk of congenital CMV transmission among seroimmune women. The future impact from completion of this work will provide valuable insight into new potential targets for vaccine development and better understanding of transplacental transmission of anti-CMV antibodies in seroimmune women. This project aligns perfectly with the National CMV Foundation’s mission to eliminate the harmful effects of maternal and congenital CMV infection.
Congratulations Dr. Talavera, we look forward to learning more about your research!
2022 UPDATE: The objective of the study was to determine the levels of antibodies against gM/gN among pregnant women and their newborn infants, in comparison with anti-gB and total anti-CMV IgG antibodies. We studies paired blood samples from 92 mothers and their newborn babies, and found that mothers with natural CMV immunity had significantly lower levels of anti-gM/gN antibodies compared to anti-gB antibodies, and the same was found for their infants, including those born prematurely.
Please read the published findings here
Category: Clinical, "Fueling Our Mission"