Sharon Hillier, PhD

Richard Sweet Professor of Reproductive Infectious Disease and Vice-Chair for Faculty Affairs, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Director Reproductive Infectious Disease Research, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC



NIH-funded research emphasis areas in Dr. Hillier’s laboratory:

  • The evaluation and testing of topical microbicides for prevention of HIV. As the Site Support Laboratory Core for the Microbicide Trials Network, this lab provides support for clinical trials of microbicides at sites in the US, Asia and Africa. Activities include evaluation of STI diagnostics for use in clinical trials, evaluation of the impact of products on the vaginal microbiota, and the assessment of immune mediators in the female genital tract in relationship
    to vaginal product usage.
  • The identification and characterization of vaginal microbes, many of which are novel species, and their association with preterm birth and pelvic inflammatory disease. Recently, a novel microorganism found in women having bacterial vaginosis was named Mageeibacillus indolicus by Michele Austin in the laboratory. In collaboration with Dr. Wiesenfeld, the laboratory is characterizing novel organisms from the female genital tract associated with pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
  • Flow cytometric analyses of endometrial and cervical tissues, and cervical cytobrushes for quantification and CD4 and CD8 cells. In a collaborative study with Dr. Sharon Achilles, the Hillier laboratory is providing support for two sister studies, one funded by the NIH and a second funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These studies are evaluating the impact of contraceptive usage on immune cells in the female reproductive tract.
  • The development and evaluation of novel film formulations of antiretroviral drugs for prevention of HIV. In collaboration with Dr. Lisa Rohan, Dr. Hillier is working toward the development of vaginal films which could provide women with protection from HIV for one week after a single application In collaboration with Dr. Bernard Moncla, the Hillier laboratory is evaluating the impact of these products on the vaginal microbiome and its impact on the vaginal glycome.


Selected Publications

  • Austin, MN, Rabe LK, Srinivasan S, Fredricks DN, Wiesenfeld HC, Hillier SL. Mageeibacillus indolicus gen. nov., sp. nov.: A novel bacterium isolated from the female genital tract. Anaerobe. 2015;32:37-42. PMID: 25482717. PMCID: PMC4385425.
  • Marrazzo JM1, Ramjee G, Richardson BA, Gomez K, Mgodi N, Nair G, Palanee T, Nakabiito C, van der Straten A, Noguchi L, Hendrix CW, Dai JY, Ganesh S, Mkhize B, Taljaard M, Parikh UM, Piper J, Mâsse B, Grossman C, Rooney J, Schwartz JL, Watts H, Marzinke MA, Hillier SL, McGowan IM, Chirenje ZM, VOICE Study Team. Tenofovir-based preexposure prophylaxis for HIV infection among African women. N Engl J Med. 2015;372:509-18. PMID: 25651245. PMCID: PMC4341965.
  • Chappell CA, Isaacs CE, Weimin J, Meyn LA, Uranker K, Dezzutti CS, Moncla BJ, Hillier SL. The effect of menopause on the innate anti-viral activity of cervicovaginal lavage. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015;pii:S0002-9378:00326-9. PMID: 25818668. PMCID: PMC4519412.
  • Noguchi L, Richardson B, Baeten J, Hillier S, Balkus J, Chirenje Z, Bunge K, Ramjee G, Nair G, Palanee-Phillips T, Selepe P, van der Straten A, Parikh U, Gomez K, Piper J, Watts H, Marrazzo J. Risk of HIV-1 acquisition among women using different types of injectable progestin contraception in South Africa: a prospective cohort study. Lancet HIV. 2015;2:e279-e287. PMID: 26155597. PMCID: PMC4491329.
  • Moncla B, Chappell C, Mahal L, Debo B, Meyn L, Hillier S. Impact of bacterial vaginosis, as assessed by Nugent criteria and hormonal status on glycosidases and lectin binding in cervicovaginal lavage samples. PLoS One. 2015;10:e0127091. PMID: 26011704. PMCID: PMC4444347.
  • Herold B, Chen B, Salata R, Marzinke M, Kelly C, Dezzutti C, McGowan I, Galaska B, Levy L, Piper J, Hillier S, Hendix C on behalf of the MTN-011 Study Team. Impact of Sex on the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of 1% Tenofovir Gel. Clin Infect Dis. 2016;62:375-82. PMID: 26508513.
  • Balkus J, Brown E, Hillier SL, Coletti A, Ramjee G, Mgodi N, Makanani B, Reid C, Martinson F, Soto-Torres L, Abdool Karim S, Chirenje ZM. Oral and injectable contraceptive use and HIV acquisition risk among women in 4 African countries: a secondary analysis of data from a microbicide trial. Contraception. 2016;93:25-31. PMID: 26519646. PMCID: PMC4706638.
  • Danby C, Cosentino L, Rabe L, Priest C, Damare K, Macio I, Meyn L, Wiesenfeld H, Hillier S. Patterns of extragenital chlamydia and gonorrhea in women and men who have sex with men reporting a history of receptive anal intercourse. Sex Transm Dis. 2016;43:105-9. PMID: 26766527.
  • Bunge K, Dezzutti C, Rohan L, Hendrix C, Marzinke M, Richardson-Harmon N, Moncla B, Devlin B, Meyn L, Spiegel H, Hillier S. A Phase 1 trial to assess the safety, acceptability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a novel dapivirine vaginal film. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Nov 11. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 26565716.
  • Baeten J, Palanee-Phillips T, Brown E, Schwartz K, Soto-Torres L, Govender V, Mgodi N, Matovu Kiweewa F, Nair G, Mhlanga F, Siva S, Bekker LG, Jeenarain N, Gaffoor Z, Martinson F, Makanani B, Pather A, Naidoo L, Husnik M, Richardson B, Parikh U, Mellors J, Marzinke M, Hendrix C, van der Straten A, Ramjee G, Chirenje ZM, Nakabiito C, Taha T, Jones J, Mayo A, Scheckter R, Berthiaume J, Livant E, Jacobson C, Ndase P, White R, Patterson K, Germuga D, Galaska B, Bunge K, Singh D, Szydlo D, Montgomery E, Mensch B, Torjesen K, Grossman C, Chakhtoura N, Nel A, Rosenberg Z, McGowan I, Hillier S, for the MTN-020/ASPIRE Study Team. Use of a Vaginal Ring Containing Dapivirine for HIV-1 Prevention in Women. N Engl J Med. 2016 Feb 22. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1506110.

For additional publications, see: (Pubmed or other online collection)