The Bay Area Lyme Foundation Emerging Leader Awards (ELA) recognize up-and-coming researchers bringing new approaches and creative thinking to the field of Lyme disease. These grants support new and innovative projects and aim to attract aspiring new scientific talent to the field of Lyme. Candidate applications must include a viable proposal for a proof-of-concept to be funded, in part or in sum, by the grant award.

$250,000 ELA Grant

Our $250,000 ELA grant targets veteran scientific talent with the title of associate professor or above who have not previously worked in Lyme disease research. Applicants must be at a US academic institution or corporate equivalent and propose to apply their work in other fields to therapeutics or diagnostics in Lyme disease.

$100,000 ELA Grant

The $100,000 ELA grant is offered to researchers in academia or the private sector who are currently at the post-doctoral level through the assistant professor level, or equivalent. Applicants must have identified a defined approach to improving diagnostics or therapies for Lyme disease. Important criteria include demonstrated professional and scientific leadership in the biomedical sciences and a strong supporting scientific rationale for the project. Research efforts funded by this award are required to generate initial proof of concept within 12–18 months.

Selection Process

Applications for the 2017 award were solicited beginning October 2016. Applicants must submit an application, research proposal, and at least one supporting letter from their supervising manager or Principal Investigator.

Candidates completed the following application and sent to by February 15, 2017. They included a research proposal of no more than 10 pages (at least 10 pt font) using the outline below. Applications longer than 10 pages (excluding pages required for references, biosketch or CV) were not eligible for this grant.

Applications are peer reviewed by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation Science Committee and adjunct advisors. Winners are announced in late spring at our annual LymeAid® event.

For more information or questions about the application process, please contact the foundation offices at or tel. 650.530.2439.

It is the policy of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to pay no more than 5% of any grant toward overhead or indirect costs.

Who Qualifies?

  • Affiliated with an academic or research institution in the U.S. or corporate equivalent
  • Demonstrated professional and scientific leadership in biological and medical sciences
  • Exhibited scientific curiosity and an established pattern of creative thinking
  • A defined approach to improved diagnostics or therapies for Lyme disease

Evaluation Criteria

  • Potential for research to lead to a novel therapy or diagnostic for Lyme disease
  • Scientific rationale supporting the application (perhaps validated in another field)
  • Applicant’s track record for project execution
  • Support from Principal Investigator and affiliated institution
  • Timeline: Application shows sufficient potential to generate initial proof of concept within 12–18 months

2016 ELA Recipients

Bay Area Lyme Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Emerging Leader Awards. This year, thanks to the generous contributions from The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation and The Laurel Foundation, we presented two ELA awards with each recipient receiving a $100,000 project grant to bring an innovative project to proof-of-concept.

Alexandra Cohen Emerging Leader Award

ELA Winner Britton Grasperge

Britton J. Grasperge, PhD, Louisiana State University, was awarded the Alexandra Cohen Emerging Leader Award to further his research to identify substances within the tick saliva that are responsible for attracting the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in an effort to develop a better diagnostic.

About the Project
Post-treatment Lyme disease is a poorly understood syndrome. In animal models of this disease, xenodiagnosis (feeding uninfected ticks upon the animal, followed by examining the ticks for bacteria) results in identification of persistently infected animals when other diagnostics have failed. This finding is likely related to the ability of tick saliva to attract the Lyme Borrelia. In an effort to improve diagnostics and potentially therapeutics for the treatment of Lyme disease, our study aims to identify substances within the tick saliva that are responsible for this attractant property towards Borrelia. Using simple size separation techniques and sophisticated protein separation assays, the molecule or molecules responsible will be identified. Future studies will use these findings to begin testing animal models with novel diagnostics.

Laure Woods Emerging Leader Award

ELA Winner Chase Beisel

Chase Beisel, PhD, North Carolina State University, was awarded the Laure Woods Emerging Leader Award to explore the potential ability of CRISPR-Cas genome targeting to kill the bacteria that causes Lyme.

About the Project
Dr. Beisel’s ELA award will utilize CRISPR-Cas genome targeting in Borrelia burgdorferi. If successful, the work will provide a proof of principle demonstration that targeting the Borrelia genome with CRISPR is lethal. The project will also assess the anti-microbial efficacy of CRISPR against B. burgdorferi and will elucidate the Borrelia genome’s potential mechanisms of escape from CRISPR attack.

Previous Honorees

2015 ELA Recipients

John Branda_ELA Award RecipientJohn A. Branda, MD

Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School and Assistant Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Associate Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratories at MGH and Director of the Clinical Laboratory at Nantucket Cottage Hospital

Nira Pollock, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Medical Director of the Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital

2014 ELA Recipients

Jerome Bouquet Jerome F. Bouquet, PhD

A postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Francisco for his project: Development of a Host Biomarker Assay for the Diagnosis of Acute Lyme Disease and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Lisa BlumLisa K. Blum, PhD

A postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University for her project: Sequencing of Antibody Responses to Borrelia burgdorferi Infection—Generation of Recombinant Antibodies with Diagnostic and Therapeutic Utility