Early Career Research Award Recipient: Dr. Talavera

Early Career Research Award Recipient: Dr. Talavera

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!