Tick Saliva and Borrelia Spirochetes: A Novel Approach to Lyme Diagnostics

grasperge_rev_lores-250-x-250Bay Area Lyme recognizes some of the most promising research projects and scientists in the field of Lyme Disease for its annual Emerging Leader Award. These scientists and project teams come from leading research institutions all over the country and are focused on some of the more innovative approaches to developing new diagnostics and treatments for this insidious disease. The award comes with $100,000 of project funding to help bring their research to the next stage of completion or proof-of-concept.

Here, we talked with one of this year’s winners, Britton Grasperge, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, as he discusses his novel approach to Lyme diagnostics and also what it’s like to connect the work that’s done in the lab to the very real stories of the human patients suffering through the disease. He was the recipient of the Alexandra Cohen Emerging Leader Award. Dr. Grasperge’s project is entitled “Identification of Tick Chemoattractant(s) for Borrelia burgdorferi.” The goal, he explains, is to design better diagnostics and to improve therapeutics for post-treatment Lyme disease patients who continue to have lingering symptoms even after having been treated. 

CRISPR Technology: A New Approach to Eradicating Borrelia

courtesy Beisel Lab, NCSUDr. Chase Beisel is an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University who was recognized earlier this year with one of Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s prestigious Emerging Leader Awards. This honor is in recognition of and support for his lab‘s novel work exploring CRISPR technology as a potential treatment for Lyme infections.

Dr. Beisel’s work integrates molecular biology, chemical engineering, and mathematical modeling and has been acknowledged with several National Science Foundation (NSF),  National Institute for Health (NIH) and other important awards. His foray into the field of Lyme is a new direction for his lab and ties directly to the Foundation’s aim of attracting some of the brightest and best minds in the country to apply innovative new approaches and methodology to accelerate the development of new diagnostics and treatments for Lyme disease. We are excited about his work and asked him to elaborate further in this recent conversation.

New Pathogen Discovered By Researchers Who Discovered Lyme – But Was Not Reported

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

New Pathogen Discovered By Researchers Who Discovered Lyme – But Was Not Reported

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Responds to News Related to Initial Studies of Lyme Disease

Portola Valley, CA, October 12, 2016 – Bay Area Lyme Foundation, an organization dedicated to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is deeply disturbed by the news that researchers involved in the initial discoveries of Lyme disease omitted critical information related to additional bacteria that may have contributed to illness in early cases. This information was revealed in a story today in STAT News titled “The ‘Swiss Agent’: Long forgotten research unearths new mystery about Lyme disease.”

This new development clearly points to a critical need to reexamine much of the current orthodoxy in Lyme disease.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Winners of “Lyme Innovation” Hackathon at White House Event

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Winners of “Lyme Innovation” Hackathon at White House Event

White House Acknowledges Contributions of Program Organizers
Toward Solving Challenges of Lyme Disease

(Cambridge, MA,) October 5, 2016 — As part of the White House Open Data Innovation Summit, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, collaborating with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness, Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, announces the winning teams of Lyme Innovation.  Lyme Innovation is the first ever Hackathon for Lyme disease, which provided a forum for more than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from a variety of disciplines to brainstorm solutions for this potentially devastating disease.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Increases Annual ‘Emerging Leader Award’ Grants to $350,000 for Lyme Disease Research

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Increases Annual ‘Emerging Leader Award’ Grants to $350,000 for Lyme Disease Research

2017 additional award invites applications from Associate Professors through Full Professors

Silicon Valley, California, October 3, 2016 – Bay Area Lyme Foundation, supporter of research aimed at making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, announced today that it is beginning to accept applications for a new $250,000 grant award that has been added to its existing “Emerging Leader Award” portfolio of yearly funding.  Made available to researchers through the generosity of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation and the Laurel Foundation, the portfolio also includes the $100,000 “Emerging Leader Award” which has previously been granted to researchers from Harvard, Stanford, UCSF, NC State and Louisiana State University.

Had a Good Day? Call in Sick.

jordan-fisher-smith_312Wednesday evening September 14th, Jordan Fisher Smith, Lyme patient, former National Park Service (NPS) ranger and US Forest Service firefighter, narrator of the Lyme documentary Under Our Skin, freelance writer, and author of bestselling books, Nature Noir: A Park Ranger’s Patrol in the Sierra and Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature, was the latest to grace the Bay Area Lyme stage as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. This free public series features noted scientists, health professionals, and Lyme advocates in intimate salon-style settings, where audience members can ask questions and get answers about the latest in Lyme disease research, treatments, and policy news. And sometimes, it’s just about sharing stories and insights.

This week’s presentation was just that — a moving discussion of Jordan’s personal experience and reflections battling Lyme disease, what he describes as the toughest 9 1/2 years and biggest struggle of his life (and this from a man who nearly lost his life during blizzard conditions on the top of Mt. Shasta!).

Ticks, Ticks, and More Ticks!

A Conversation with Dr. Nate Nieto, Northern Arizona University and Head of the Free Tick Testing Program


Nate Nieto_312Just six months ago, Bay Area Lyme launched a free Tick Testing Program through a partnership with Nate Nieto, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and his lab.

The lab accept ticks from any state in the US and ticks are tested for several bacterial infections. The goal is to learn more about the ecological distribution of the major tick vectors and the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens that people encounter in different locations around the country ultimately to improve both prevention and diagnostic measures.

The initial response to this program far exceeded any anticipations — thousands of ticks poured in from all over the nation! Here, we sat down with Dr. Nieto to talk about what he has seen in these first few months and how the program will continue to grow and evolve. 

For more information about how to submit a sample, please refer to the Tick Testing page.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Finalists of “Lyme Innovation” Hackathon

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Finalists of “Lyme Innovation” Hackathon

Event brings together research from other therapeutic areas and disciplines to collaborate in development of solutions

Cambridge, MA, June 24, 2016 – Bay Area Lyme Foundation, collaborating with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness, Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, today announced the five finalists of Lyme Innovation, the first ever Hackathon for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from several US states registered for this event to brainstorm solutions for Lyme disease, a potentially devastating condition newly infecting 329,000 people each year.

“Collaboration is the key to solving the myriad of challenges of Lyme disease, and we were excited to have the participation of so many researchers new to Lyme research,” said Wendy Adams, Science Committee, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.  “It has been exciting to see such a wide range of expertise and enthusiasm come together to focus on solutions for this serious disease.”

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Sponsors Massachusetts General Hospital Forum to Address Challenges of Lyme Disease

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Sponsors Massachusetts General Hospital Forum to Address Challenges of Lyme Disease

Researchers consider issues of persistence, and cardiac and neurological manifestations of Lyme disease, as well as the challenges of other emerging tick-borne diseases

Boston, MA, June 13, 2016 – Massachusetts General Hospital convened a national scientific conference, “Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses: Diagnostics, Emerging Pathogens and Avenues for New Research,” was convened at Massachusetts General Hospital to educate and inspire collaboration toward a greater understanding of the of tick-borne diseases and how research should be focused. This conference, which was attended by academia, industry, and government, was supported by Bay Area Lyme Foundation. Lyme disease infects more than 329,000 people each year in the U.S., and there is currently no sufficiently reliable Lyme diagnostic test and there is no universally effective treatment for post-treatment Lyme disease.

Pets and People: More than Companions

Michael Yabsley with petThe following is a post from a guest author, Dr. Michael J. Yabsley, MS, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Population Health at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia and Board of Directors, Companion Animal Parasite Council.

He shares some important observations on the relationship between our pets and their people, especially in the context of vector-borne pathogens like Lyme disease.

Pets are our companions. They share our lives, our homes and our family time. We often share the mutual love of activities such as hiking or simply playing fetch in the backyard. While companionship is clearly why we have pets, our bond with them is often far greater than we appreciate — we share the same environment and more often than not, the same health concerns. At the top of this list are several vector-borne diseases.