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URMC / Labs / Falsetta Lab / Research Projects

 

Research Projects

Mechanisms of Vulvodynia Involving Dysregulation of Pro-Resolving Lipids

Mechanisms of Vulvodynia Involving Dysregulation of Pro-Resolving LipidsLocalized provoked vulvodynia (LPV) is characterized by acute and lasting pain in response to light touch of the vulvar vestibule (area immediately surrounding the vaginal opening), which is associated with a reduction in quality of life. Although women afflicted with LPV experience profound pain that negatively impacts their sexual health, they show no overt signs of disease.

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Discovery of Novel Targets for Non-Opioid Pain Therapy

Discovery of Novel Targets for Non-Opioid Pain Therapy

Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition of the vulva that afflicts 9-18% of US women. Most patients suffer from localized provoked vulvodynia (LPV), characterized by severe and lasting pain with light touch to specific vulvar sites near the vaginal opening. This impairs the woman’s ability to engage in a sexual relationship, use a tampon, ride a bike, or even walk, causing a profound decline in quality of life. Although evidence exists to support the use of any approved vulvodynia therapy, most only mitigate the symptoms of pain and do not target the poorly elucidated causes of disease. There is no effective medical therapy.

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Role of Scarring in Lichenoid Disease

Role of Scarring in Lichenoid DiseaseOver the last decade, multiple findings have illuminated the importance of the regulation of protein expression at the level of mRNA translation. mRNA is no longer considered a simple courier of genetic information between DNA and protein. For example, numerous studies begin to reveal that structured elements within the mRNA play a critical role in modulating the flow of genetic information from DNA to protein.

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Connection Between Oral and Vulvovaginal Health

Connection Between Oral and Vulvovaginal HealthMicrobiome composition varies at each body site, but the microbiome between two separate individuals is more dissimilar than the microbiome at two different sites in the same individual. The "downstream" microbiome of the gut, vagina, and rectum may be influenced by organisms that enter the oral cavity and traverse through the digestive system or are translocated from one site to another.

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Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis

Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis

Pelvic pain is a global health problem often linked to endometriosis and vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain). Although common in women of reproductive age, pelvic pain is underreported, poorly understood, and difficult to manage. Worldwide, 13-32% of women of childbearing age (up to 600 million people) suffer from pelvic pain severe enough to routinely miss work or school. Furthermore, there is no guidance for the use of opioid therapy in gynecologic pain, and few alternatives exist.

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Vulvar Quality of Life

We plan to test the utility of the vulvar quality of life index for clinical and research use with the goal of improving the patient experience. Dr. Falsetta currently serves as co-chair for the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Diseases Vulvar Disease Impact Committee and is committed to better understanding the patient experience and developing new diagnostics and interventions for patients with vulvar disease.

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Fungal Phenotypes and Vulvodynia: Understanding the Role of β-glucan in Vulvar Inflammation

Fungal Phenotypes and Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia, chronic pain localized to the vulvar vestibule, is a devastating disease that severely impairs the quality of life of affected individuals and their partners. Biofilm formation has been strongly associated with chronic or recurrent yeast infection. Therefore, the goal of this investigation is to evaluate the role of fungal β-glucan production in the pro-nociceptive proinflammatory responses of the vulvar vestibule using our fibroblast model.

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