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Modern Ethical Syphilology: Elucidating Treponema pallidum transmission; and novel strategies for improving early detection of syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections.

posted on 09.11.2020, 22:59 authored by JANET MARY TOWNS
Syphilis emerged at the time of Columbus and is a modern plague caused by the stealth pathogen, Treponema pallidum. It is a disease shrouded in stigma with a long and unethical history of human research. I aimed to elucidate aspects of early syphilis, to guide STI prevention strategies. The main finding, previously unrecognised, was that oral detection of Treponema pallidum is common in early syphilis. During recruitment for our syphilis study, we developed iSpySTI, an innovative, data-driven, Bayesian network-powered, web-based tool that generates a probabilistic diagnosis of likely sexual health conditions, improving access to health care.


Principal supervisor

Christopher Fairley

Additional supervisor 1

Professor Marcus Chen

Additional supervisor 2

Dr Eric Chow

Additional supervisor 3

Dr Lei Zhang

Additional supervisor 4

Professor Stephen Graves

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Central Clinical School

Campus location



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type