Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.



First Advisor

Prashanth Asuri

Second Advisor

Michele Parker

Third Advisor

Craig Stephens


The goal of CERVIS is to increase screening for cervical cancer through the development of a low-cost, minimally invasive screening procedure for women in low-resource settings that requires minimal healthcare expertise. There currently exist two primary screening procedures: the Pap smear, primarily used in developed countries, and visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), primarily used in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Both of these procedures require a high degree of healthcare training in order to administer and interpret, and are highly invasive, requiring direct interaction with the cervix. Our alternative procedure utilizes a particular bacteria, Fusobacterium nucleatum , within the cervicovaginal microbiome that has been associated with cervical cancer pathology. Our screening procedure seeks to identify the need for further diagnostic testing based on a vaginal swab representative of fusobacteria colonization of the vagina. Two modalities, growth media containing colorimetric indicators and a qPCR-based assay, are used to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the presence of this bacteria. This collection method is less invasive and does not require healthcare expertise, therefore allowing for self-administration. Outcomes of testing are measured by determining the feasibility of the prototype regarding sensitivity and parameters of bacterial growth, including time for incubation, the temperature of incubation, and aerobic exposure time. Further testing will include quantifying fusobacteria in a cervical cancer patient sample and establishing exact temperature ranges of incubation and incubation time.