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Rebecca M. Brotman Miller

Rebecca M. Brotman Miller Ph.D., M.P.H.

Academic Title: Associate Professor
Primary Appointment: Epidemiology & Public Health
Location: Institute for Genome Sciences, BioPark II, 801 W. Baltimore Street, Room 633
Phone: 410-706-6767
Fax: 410-706-1482

Personal History:

Rebecca Brotman is an infectious diseases epidemiologist at the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research focuses on the study of the human microbiota and their association with health.


Ph.D., 2007, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; Department of Epidemiology; Infectious Diseases Program

M.P.H., 2001, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; Concentration: Reproductive Epidemiology

B.A., 1996, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; Major: Political Science, Minor: Biology 

Graduate Education and Training:

2007 - 2008: Postdoctoral fellow, Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

2005 - 2007: Predoctoral fellow; Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA), Longitudinal Study of Vaginal Flora, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research (DESPR), Rockville, MD

Research Interests:

My research interests span a broad range of topics in Reproductive and Infectious Diseases Epidemiology. I am currently developing a research program in the epidemiology of bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is a disruption of the vaginal microbiota which is associated with adverse obstetric and gynecologic outcomes. National surveys indicate the prevalence of BV among U.S. women is 29%, and yet, despite considerable effort, the etiology of BV remains unknown. We recently completed a study which suggested that vaginal douching cessation may reduce the risk for BV. Specimens collected in the study also revealed surprising observations on the fluctuation of BV and are now the focus of my current research. Future work will involve studies of the pathophysiology of BV, including the various behavioral and biological factors associated with the acquisition, remission and recurrence of BV.

Grants and Contracts:

"Elucidating causes of vaginal symptoms using a multi-omics approach"
NIH / NINR R01 NR015495
Role: Co-I

“Lubricant Use and the Vaginal Microbiome”
NIH / NIAID R01-AI119012
Role: PI

“Longitudinal study of the vaginal microbiome prior to incident STI”
NIH / NIAID R01-AI116799
Role: PI

2014 - 2019
"Ecopathogenomics of sexually transmitted infections (EPSTI)"
Project 3: Genital microbiome-pathogen interactions in a sexual transmission network
NIH / NIAID U19-AI084044
Role: Co-I

2013 - 2015
"Vaginal microbiota, immune responses and vulvovaginal symptoms during menopause"
PAS-10-226, Advancing Novel Science in Women’s Health Research (ANSWHR)
NIH / NIAID R21-AI107224
Role: PI

2013 - 2014
"Relationship Between Smoking and HPV: Role of the Vaginal Microbiome"
University of Maryland Cancer Epidemiology Alliance Joint Research Pilot Grant sponsored by the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center
Role: Co-PI (with Xin He, PhD University of Maryland College Park)

2011 - 2016
"Duration of Hormonal Contraceptive Use: Immune Responses & Vaginal Microbiota"
Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Khalil Ghanem, MD, PhD)
NIH/NIAID R01-AI089878

2010 - 2015
"Molecular Epidemiology of the Vaginal Microbiome"
NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01)
Role: PI
NIH / NIAID K01 AI080974

2010 - 2011
"Interaction of the Human Microbiome and Tobacco in Women’s Reproductive Health"
University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Research Seed Program
Role: Co-PI (with Elbert Glover, PhD)

2010 - 2011
"Duration of Hormonal Contraceptive Use: Immune Responses & Vaginal Microbiota"
Role: Co-Investigator; PI: Khalil Ghanem, MD, PhD
NIH / NIAID R56-AI089878

2009 - 2010
"Epidemiologic and genomic studies of the vaginal microbiota to improve women’s health"
Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Program Award
University of Maryland Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Program (MCRCDP)
NIH / NCRR K12RR0232

2009 - 2010
"Microbial Ecology of Bacterial Vaginosis: A Fine Scale Resolution Metagenomic Analysis"
NIH Roadmap Human Microbiome Project
Role: Co-investigator, 20%; PI: J. Ravel, L. Forney
NIH / NIAID UH2 AI083264


Stekler J, Bachmann L, Brotman RM, Erbelding EJ, Lloyd LV, Rietmeijer CA, Handsfield HH, Holmes KK, Golden MR: Concurrent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in sex partners of patients with selected STIs: implications for patient-delivered partner therapy. Clin Infect Dis 40:787-793, 2005.

Klebanoff MA, Andrews WW, Yu KF, Brotman RM, Nansel TR, Zhang J, Cliver SP, Schwebke JR: A pilot study of vaginal flora changes with randomization to cessation of douching. Sex Transm Dis 33:610-613, 2006.

Brotman RM, Erbelding EJ, Jamshidi RM, Klebanoff MA, Zenilman JM, Ghanem KG: Findings Associated with Recurrence of Bacterial Vaginosis among Adolescents Attending Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinics. Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology 20:225-231, 2007.

Brotman RM, Klebanoff MA, Nansel T, Zhang J, Schwebke JR, Yu KF, Zenilman JM, Andrews WW: Why Do Women Douche? A Longitudinal Study with Two Analytic Approaches. Ann Epidemiol 18:65-73, 2008.

Brotman RM, Ghanem KG, Klebanoff MA, Taha TE, Scharfstein DO, Zenilman JM. The Effect of Vaginal Douching Cessation on Bacterial Vaginosis: A Pilot Study. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 2008 Jun;198(6):628.e1-7

Brotman RM, Ravel J. [Invited Commentary] Ready or not: The molecular diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Jul 1;47(1):44-6.

Brotman RM, Klebanoff MA, Nansel TR, Andrews WW, Schwebke JR, Zhang J, Yu KF, Zenilman JM, Scharfstein DO. A longitudinal study of vaginal douching and bacterial vaginosis -- A marginal structural modeling analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Jul 15;168(2):188-96.

Rifkin SB, Smith MR, Brotman RM, Gindi RM, Erbelding, EJ. Hormonal contraception and risk of bacterial vaginosis diagnosis in an observational study of women attending STD clinics in Baltimore, MD. Contraception 80:63-67, 2009. PMID: 19501217

Brotman RM, Melendez JH, Galai N, Zenilman JM. Effect of Menses on Clearance of Y-Chromosome in Vaginal Fluid: Implications for a Biomarker of Recent Sexual Activity, Sex Transm Dis, 2010 Feb;37(2):94-9.

Klebanoff MA, Nansel TR, Brotman RM, Zhang J, Yu K, Schwebke JR, Andrews WW. Personal hygienic behaviors and bacterial vaginosis, Sex Transm Dis, 2009 Dec 2. [Epub ahead of print].

Klebanoff MA, Andrews WW, Zhang J, Brotman RM, Nansel TR, Yu K, Schwebke JR. Race of male sexual partners and occurrence of bacterial vaginosis, Sex Transm Dis, 37(1):1-4, 2010.

Brotman RM, Ravel J, Cone RA, Zenilman. Rapid fluctuation of the vaginal microbiota measured by Gram stain analysis, Sex Trans Inf., 86:297-302, 2010.

Forney LJ, Gajer P, Williams CJ, Schneider GM, Koenig SS, McCulle SL, Karlebach S, Brotman RM, Davis CC, Ault K, Ravel J: Comparison of self-collected and physician-collected vaginal swabs for microbiome analysis. J Clin Microbiol 48:1741-1748, 2010.

Ravel J, Gajer P, Abdo Z, Schneider GM, Koenig SS, McCulle SL, Karlebach S, Gorle R, Russell J, Tacket CO, Brotman RM, Davis CC, Ault K, Peralta L, Forney LJ: Microbes and Health Sackler Colloquium: Vaginal microbiome of reproductive-age women. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010.

Brotman RM, Klebanoff MA, Nansel TR, Yu KF, Andrews WW, Zhang J, and Schwebke JR. Bacterial vaginosis assessed by Gram stain and diminished colonization resistance to incident gonococcal, chlamydial and trichomonal genital infection, J Infect Dis., 202:1907-1915, 2010.

Zhou X, Brotman RM, Gajer P, Abdo Z, Schuette U, Ma S, Ravel J, Forney LJ: Recent Advances in Understanding the Microbiology of the Female Reproductive Tract and the Causes of Premature Birth. Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2010:1-10, 2010.

Brotman RM, Melendez J, Ghanem KG. A case control study of anovaginal distance and bacterial vaginosis. Int J STD AIDS, 2011 Apr;22(4):231-3.

Brotman RM: Vaginal microbiome and sexually transmitted infections: an epidemiologic perspective. J Clin Invest 121:4610-4617, 2011.

Gajer P*, Brotman RM*, Bai G, Sakamoto J, Schutte UM, Zhong X, Koenig SS, Fu L, Ma ZS, Zhou X, Abdo Z, Forney LJ, Ravel J: Temporal dynamics of the human vaginal microbiota. Sci Transl Med 4:132ra52, 2012. *contributed equally as first author

Bai G, Gajer P, Nandy M, Ma B, Yang H, Sakamoto J, Blanchard MH, Ravel J, Brotman RM: Comparison of storage conditions for human vaginal microbiome studies. PLoS ONE 7:e36934, 2012.

Brotman RM, Bradford LL, Conrad M, Gajer P, Ault K, Peralta L, Forney LJ, Carlton JM, Abdo Z, Ravel J. Association between Trichomonas vaginalis and vaginal bacterial community composition among reproductive-age women. Sex Transm Dis, 2012; 39(10):807-812.

Liu S, Brotman RM, Zenilman JM, Gravitt PE, Cummings DAT: Menstrual Cycle and Detectable Human Papillomavirus in Reproductive Age Women: A Time Series Study. J Infect Dis. 2013 Nov; 208(9):1404-15.

Brotman RM, Shardell MD, Gajer P, Fadrosh D, Chang K, Silver M, Viscidi RP, Burke AE, Ravel J, Gravitt PG. Association between the vaginal microbiota, menopausal status, and vulvovaginal symptoms. Menopause. Sep 30 2013. [Epub ahead of print].

Brotman RM, Ravel J, Bavoil PM, Gravitt PE, Ghanem KG. Microbiome, Sex Hormones, and Immune Responses in the Reproductive Tract: Challenges for Vaccine Development Against Sexually Transmitted Infections. Vaccine. 2013 Oct 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Liu S, Cummings D, Zenilman JM, Gravitt P, Brotman RM. Characterizing the Temporal Dynamics of Human Papillomavirus DNA Detectability Using Short-Interval Sampling. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Oct 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Ravel J, Brotman RM, Gajer P, Ma B, Nandy M, Fadrosh DW, Sakamoto J, Koenig SS, Fu L, Zhou X, Hickey RJ, Schwebke JR, Forney LJ. Daily temporal dynamics of vaginal microbiota before, during and after episodes of bacterial vaginosis. Microbiome 2013;1:29 .

Fadrosh DW, Ma B, Gajer P, Sengamalay N, Ott S, Brotman RM, Ravel J. An improved dual-indexing approach for multiplexed 16S rRNA gene sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Microbiome 2014;2:6.

Brotman RM, Shardell MD, Gajer P, Tracy JK, Zenilman JM, Ravel J, Gravitt PE. Interplay between the temporal dynamics of the vaginal microbiota and human papillomavirus detection. J Infect Dis 2014 Jun 18 [Epub ahead of print].

Brotman RM, He X, Gajer P, Fadrosh D, Mongodin EF, Ravel J, Glover ED, Rath JM. Association between cigarette smoking and the vaginal microbiota: A Pilot study. BMC Infect Dis. 2014, 14:471. 2014 Aug 28;14:471

Dareng EO, Ma B, Famooto AO, Akarolo-Anthony SN, Offiong RA, Olaniyan O, Dakum PS, Wheeler CM, Fadrosh D, Yang H, Gajer P, Brotman RM, Ravel J, Adebamowo CA. Prevalent high-risk HPV infection and vaginal microbiota in Nigerian women. Epidemiol Infect 2016 Jan;144(1):123-37.

Bradshaw CS, Brotman RM. Making inroads into improving treatment of bacterial vaginosis - striving for long-term cure. BMC Infect Dis 2015, 15(1):292.

Nelson TM, Borgogna JL, Brotman RM, Ravel J, Walk ST, Yeoman CJ: Vaginal biogenic amines: biomarkers of bacterial vaginosis or precursors to vaginal dysbiosis? Frontiers in physiology 2015, 6:253.

Ravel J, Brotman RM. Translating the vaginal microbiome: gaps and challenges. Genome Med. 2016 Apr 1;8(1):35.

Robinson CK, Brotman RM, Ravel J: Intricacies of assessing the human microbiome in epidemiologic studies. Ann Epidemiol 2016, 26(5):311-321