Dr. Jacques Ravel is the Associate Director for Genomics at the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) and a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland, where he focuses on the relationship between the microbiome and women’s health. His groundbreaking research is dedicated to deciphering the role of the vaginal microbiome in protecting against infections, using clinical genomics and systems biology in order to treat gynecological and obstetric conditions. His work seeks to better define the dynamics between hosts, microbial communities in the human body, and the environments that drive these ecological systems.
He is currently the Co-Director of the NIH funded Collaborative Research Center on Sexually Transmitted Diseases which applies systems biology to examine the connection between human genetic variation, sexually transmitted infections, and the functions of the vaginal microbiome. His work is also part of the White House’s Human Microbiome Project, a long-term NIH funded initiative. He has published over 225 peer-reviewed publications (19,884 citations) and has attracted over $30 million in grants with continuous NIH funding since 2005. His laboratory is currently supported by grants from the US National Institute of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the National Science Foundation.
He also serves as the co-founder and Chief Scientist of LUCA Biologics, the first biotechnology company to emerge from the Seed Health foundry. Based on Dr. Ravel’s extensive work and research in the field, the company will target pervasive unmet medical needs in women’s health through modulation of the vaginal microbiome with a pipeline that addresses urinary tract infection (UTI), bacterial vaginosis (BV), and preterm birth (PB).
He received his PhD from the University of Maryland-College Park in Environmental Molecular Microbiology and Ecology and performed his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University working on microbial natural product chemistry. In 2012, he was elected to Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and in 2015, he was awarded the Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, one of the most prestigious European science honors. Dr. Ravel is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbiome and an Associate Editor at the journal mBio.
Vonetta L. Edwards, Steven B. Smith, Elias J. McComb, Jeanne Tamarelle, Bing Ma, Michael S. Humphrys, Pawel Gajer, Kathleen Gwilliam, Alison M. Schaefer, Samuel K. Lai, Mishka Terplan, Katrina S. Mark, Rebecca M. Brotman, Larry J. Forney, Patrik M. Bavoil, Jacques Ravel 2019. The Cervicovaginal Microbiota-Host Interaction Modulates Chlamydia trachomatis Infection. mBio, 10 (4) e01548-19; DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01548-19
Caporaso JG, Lauber CL, Costello EK, Berg-Lyons D, Gonzalez A, Stombaugh J, Knights D, Gajer P, Ravel J, Fierer N Gordon, JI and Knight, R. 2011. Moving pictures of the human microbiome. Genome Biology, 12(5):R50.
Gajer P, Brotman RM, Bai G, Sakamoto J, Shutte UME, Zhong X, Koenig SSK, Fu L, Ma Z, Zhou X, Abdo Z, Forney LJ and Ravel J. 2012. The temporal dynamics of the vaginal microbiota. Science Translational Medicine. 4, 132ra52.
Price LB, Liu CM, Johnson KE, Aziz M, Lau MA, Bowers J, Ravel J, Keim PS, Serwadda D, Wawer MJ and Gray RH. 2010.The effects of circumcision on the penis microbiome. PLoS ONE. 5(1): e8422.
Ma B, Forney LJ and Ravel J. 2012. The vaginal microbiota: Rethinking health and diseases. Annual Review of Microbiology. 66:371–89.
Hickey RJ, Zhou X, Pierson JD, Ravel J, Forney LJ. 2012. Understanding vaginal microbiome complexity from an ecological perspective. Translational Research. 160(4):267-82.
Ravel J, Gajer P, Abdo Z, Schneider GM, McCulle SL, Karlebach S, Gorle R, Russell J, Tacket CO, Brotman RM, Davis CC, Ault KA, Perralta L and Forney LJ. 2010. The vaginal microbiome of reproductive age women. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 108 Suppl 1:4680-7.
Brotmann, R.M. and J. Ravel. 2008. Ready or not: the molecular diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 47(1):44-6.
Robinson CK, Brotman RM, Ravel J. Intricacies of assessing the human microbiome in epidemiologic studies. Annals of Epidemiology. 2016 26(5):311-21.
Smith SB, Ravel J. 2016. The vaginal microbiota, host defense and reproductive physiology. Journal of Physiology. DOI: 10.1113/JP271694.