Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection worldwide (131 million cases annually) and the leading infectious cause of blindness (1.2 million cases) in the developing world. Both infections induce a localised immuno-fibrotic response leading to chronic inflammation and fibrosis. Cellular and molecular determinants of the progression to scarring remain unknown. We propose to investigate the basis of the immuno-fibrotic response to Ct infection using multicellular engineered tissue biomimetics. We will investigate genetic risk factors, epigenetic changes, immune cell response, and Ct virulence in relation to scarring, and determine the molecular mechanisms involved.
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