Dr. Shin is interested in understanding how host responses in the female reproductive tract (FRT) contribute to susceptibility or protection against viral sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Local immune responses in the FRT are important for protective immunity against viral STIs such as genital herpes, but have also been implicated in heightened susceptibility to other STIs such as HIV. Using animal models of infection, her lab is focused on identifying pathways that promote protective immune responses in the FRT. Dr. Shin is also interested in understanding how the local tissue microenvironment drives inflammatory responses that increase susceptibility to viral STIs. By studying factors that mediate protection, as well as susceptibility to STIs, Dr. Shin’s lab hopes to generate novel targets for therapeutics and vaccine design.