We are pleased to welcome Dr. Kim Capone, new Chief Science Officer for Vaginal Biome Science (VBS), and lead educator for the Sexual Health & Wellness Institute (SHWI).
I am honored and excited to join Vaginal Biome Science as the new Chief Science Officer, as it is a role that I feel like I have been working towards throughout my career. Trained as a microbiologist and clinical researcher, I have spent my career conducting fundamental and applied research and developing consumer products through the lens of the microbiome. When I left graduate school and started working at Johnson & Johnson, Inc., it was right at the inflection point in the field when the Human Microbiome Project started, and I saw a microscopic world of opportunity for supporting skin, oral, gut, and vaginal health. I started the Microbiome Platform at J&J to lead fundamental and applied research programs to better understand the microbiome in health and disease, and find healthcare solutions by supporting the microbial communities that make us who we are.
It is a delight for me to apply my expertise in the advancement of women’s health, and in particular vaginal health and the microbiome. Although the concept of the microbiome may be relatively new and the science remains nascent, the idea that we have bacteria on and inside of us is decidedly not. As a microbiologist who trained at a medical school 20 years ago, I studied various diseases caused by microbes but not once did we discuss the potential benefits of our commensal bacteria in maintaining our health. What I am most excited about is learning about and promoting alternatives that do more than treating microbial imbalances or infections with antibiotics, especially in light of the extensive data that continues to grow on antibiotic resistance.
Instead, taking this role leading the scientific innovation at VBS will allow us to develop supportive care for the vaginal microbiome environment as well as the health-associated bacteria in that community. I know this works as I have done this extensively in skin care, for example in mild-moderate atopic dermatitis – improving skin barrier function and providing support for the skin microbiome with topical lotions and creams can help heal AD skin, and with routine use, keep the skin barrier intact and the microbiome in balance.
The range of the most common recurrent vaginal infections and conditions including yeast, bacterial vaginosis and UTIs are still not very well understood. And their treatment modalities have remained unchanged for decades. Despite all the research and progress that has been made in vaginal health conditions, we still do not fully understand what causes BV, why some women have a more resilient vaginal microbiome vs. others who do not, and what we can do to support and maintain vaginal heath long term. Deeper and more robust research is necessary to uncover new insights and solutions for this pivotal aspect of a woman’s biology.
As we better understand how to support and maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome, we can help keep UTIs, BV, and yeast infections at bay, and in the future, support fertility, pregnancy, vulvodynia, and endometriosis care as well.
We look forward to the future where the role of the vaginal microbiome in health and disease is well-understood, and we look forward to partnering with many of you to enable these pivotal discoveries for women.
In future newsletters I will be exploring these and other common vaginal health conditions through the lens of the vaginal microbiome. Please feel free to send in questions that arise in your practice and we will work to address them as well as suggestions for new product development that would make your work with patients more healing and productive.
Contact us at email@example.com to learn more about our work or to submit your vaginal biome questions.