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Sharon L. Hillier

UPMC Media Relations

Sharon Hillier, Ph.D., Elected President Of Infectious Diseases Society For Obstetrics And Gynecology

PITTSBURGH, August 7, 2003 Sharon Hillier, Ph.D., professor in the departments of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and molecular genetics and biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been elected president of the Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology (IDSOG). She is the first female president since the society's founding.

A senior investigator at the Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI), Dr. Hillier's main research interests focus on the role of normal vaginal bacteria and infections on pregnancy complications and their part in genital infection and susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. She is principal investigator for an $8 million NIH-funded project to develop a topical microbicide barrier to HIV.

I believe fervently in trying to find a way to help women protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, said Dr. Hillier. Currently, women have no way to protect themselves except condoms, and women do not control condom use.

Dr. Hillier and her colleagues currently are pursuing several scientific projects that involve UC781, a tight-binding organic molecule about the size of an antibiotic. UC781 is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that renders the HIV virus incapable of infecting cells.

A Washington native, Dr. Hillier received her undergraduate and doctoral degrees in bacteriology and public health from Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. She came to the University of Pittsburgh in 1995 from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she was a research associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and microbiology.

In addition to her teaching duties, Dr. Hillier is director of reproductive infectious disease research at the Magee-Womens Research Institute and director of the Center of Excellence in Womens Health at the Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The IDSOG was established in 1973 to bring obstetrics and gynecology professionals that are interested in the scientific investigation of infectious diseases together. The society is affiliated with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Hillier's term of office for the IDSOG will expire in summer 2004.

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