Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz, PhD, has a long-standing interest and background in infections that impact women’s health. Her lab is studying the lower female reproductive tract’s mucosal barrier, which plays an important role on the frontlines of the immune system by protecting the body from microbes. Specifically, Dr. Herbst-Kralovetz is interested in studying how vaginal bacteria interact with the reproductive mucosal barrier to set the stage for inflammation, tissue damage and ultimately cancer. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction and her doctorate from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She is an associate professor in basic medical sciences and obstetrics & gynecology at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix.