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Welcome To

The Mitchell Lab!

The primary goal of research in the Mitchell Lab is ​to increase our understanding of the role of the ​vaginal microbiome in reproductive health in ​order to drive novel interventions to improve ​women’s health.



Dr. Caroline Mitchell, ​MD, MPH

Dr. Mitchell is a faculty member in the Vincent Center for ​Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston ​and is the director of the Vulvovaginal Disorders Program at the ​Mass General main campus. Dr. Mitchell received her undergraduate ​degree from Harvard college, spent two years in the Peace Corps in ​Southern Africa, then returned to medical school at Harvard. She did ​her OB/Gyn residency training at the University of Washington in ​Seattle, where she also received her MPH degree. She spent seven ​years on faculty at the UW before returning to Boston and Mass ​General in 2014. Dr. Mitchell spends the majority of her time in the ​lab doing translational and basic science research, funded by NIH ​and foundation grants. Her work focuses on the relationship ​between the vaginal microbiota, mucosal immune responses and ​reproductive health.

What We Do

Our current work includes clinical studies, ​translational analyses and experiments at ​the bench to identify key pathways in host-​microbe interactions, and ways to intervene ​to promote vaginal health. Humans are the ​only species with a Lactobacillus-dominant ​vaginal microbiota, thus all of our work ​involves human samples or human cell lines.

One of our primary areas of focus is on vulvovaginal disorders

There are over 10 million office visits yearly for vaginal complaints – and in over 30% of those cases a diagnosis cannot be made. Even when a diagnosis is made, treatment is often ineffective or the benefit is of short duration.

We are collecting samples from healthy women and those with vulvovaginal complaints to allow us to identify novel microbes or immune pathways that might be causing symptoms, and to develop better ways to treat symptoms

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis, characterized by a loss of healthy vaginal lactobacillus bacteria, impacts close to 30% of US women and is associated with higher risk for preterm birth, HIV acquisition, and HPV persistence. In addition, persistent, recurrent symptoms can have a significant impact on quality of life. Current treatment strategies of vaginal or oral antibiotics fail achieve a durable cure in 30-60% of women.

Our Studies

Actively Recruiting



We're conducting a clinical trial to assess the safety, tolerability, and effectiveness of a vaginally inserted live biotherapeutic product containing multiple strains of Lactobacillus crispatus to prevent recurrent bacterial vaginosis.

MOTIF Recipient

Modifying Organisms ​Transvaginally In Females



In this study we want to test whether giving antibiotics followed by the transfer of vaginal fluid from a healthy woman will lead to a healthier vaginal environment than giving antibiotics followed by plain salt water (a placebo).


Modifying Organisms ​Transvaginally In Females



If you have never had bacterial vaginosis ​before and would like to help contribute to ​women’s health research, consider signing ​up for the MOTIF Donor trial. In this study ​we are collecting vaginal fluid from healthy ​donors and donating them to our MOTIF ​Reci​pients.


Talking About BV treatment OptiOns


TYPE: Qualitative Research

In this study we want to learn more about treatment for bacterial vaginosis (BV). We are asking what patients want out of BV treatment and what they think about a possible new treatment for BV.


T-Cell HPV Responses in Vaccine ​dEvelopment


TYPE: Cross-sectional study

In this study, we are looking into what allows ​HPV (human papillomavirus, #1 cause of cervical ​cancer) to either clear on its own or persist ​without progression to cervical cancer. This ​research can hopefully help to create a ​therapeutic vaccine for HR-HPV types, many of ​which are not targeted by available vaccines ​(Gardasil).

Our Studies

Ongoing & Past Studies


Healthy Immune Phenotypes in the Vagina

STATUS: Analysis (not recruiting)

TYPE: Cross-sectional study

In this study, we collected vaginal swabs ​and fluid from healthy participants over the ​age of 18. In order to be eligible, ​participants needed to be not pregnant ​and not taking Rituximab, as this was a ​control group to our Rituxivag study.


Profiling changes in the vaginal ​microbiota and mucosal ​immune homeostasis in ​patients with continuous B-cell ​depletion with rituximab

STATUS: Analysis (not recruiting)

TYPE: Cross-sectional study

When it was noted that one of her patients ​had a distinct type of vaginitis following ​rituximab infusion, Dr. Mitchell began to ​look into if there was a connection between ​vaginitis and B-cell depletion, which seems ​to follow rituximab infusion.

Our Publications


Us​ing data from motif pilot

Yockey, L.J., Hussain, F.A., Bergerat, A. et al. Screening and characterization of ​vaginal fluid donations for vaginal microbiota transplantation. Sci Rep 12, 17948 ​(2022).

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Mitchell CM, Larson JC, Crandall CJ, et al. Association of Vaginal Estradiol Tablet With Serum Estrogen ​Levels in Women Who Are Postmenopausal: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw ​Open. 2022;5(11):e2241743. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.41743

Ms​FLash Menopause study


Check out our INstagram Page!

Gynecologic Health ​Simplified!

We have an Instagram to bring you ​microbiome and vaginal health news in a way ​that’s accessible, easy to understand, and fun ​too! Follow our Instagram @science4women ​to stay informed!

Mitchell Lab News

WBUR Local Coverage News article and ​Radio Story by Gabrielle Emanuel. ​Published on August 05, 2022 after first ​MOTIF transplant.

Click here to read more!

Meet Our Team

At the Mitchell Lab, we value and emphasize science, learning and an overall passion for public health.

Laboratory Staff

Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH

Principal Investigator

Me​ena Murthy, CNP

Co-investigator, clinician

Agnès Bergerat-Thompson, PhD

Senior Laboratory Technologist

Nomfuneko Mafunda, MPH

Project Manager

Briah Cooley

Senior Clinical Research Coordinator

Anam Khan, MBBS, MSCR

Clinical Research Coordinator

Yu​sra Saidi

Clinical Research Coordinator

Wa​fae El-arar

Laboratory Technician

Miles Goldenberg

Laboratory Technician

Fellows & Students

El​izabeth Dotson, DO

Urogynecology Fellow, ‘​25

Of​ri Bar, MD

PhD Student at The Hebrew ​University and MGH

Ida Gnanou

Undergraduate Student at ​Emmanuel College


Laboratory Staff

Alissa Mitchell

Stelios Vagios, MD

LaTina Watson

Laura Yockey, MD, ​PhD

Urogynecology Fellows

Marcus Ortega, MD, MBA ‘21

Youngwu Kim, MD ‘22

Joe Shi, MD ‘23

Vi Duong, MD ‘24

Contact Us


(617) 724-3326


Work with Us

More career opportunities ​coming soon!