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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Call for Entries for the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards

Grant aims to inspire new research toward overcoming the challenges of Lyme disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., November 17, 2020—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, is announcing a call for entries for their 2021 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which are designed to encourage scientists who embody the future of Lyme disease research leadership in the US. This year, two grants, $250,000, and $100,000 will be awarded. Recipients will be researchers from academia or the private sector in the US. who have not necessarily conducted previous research in tick-borne diseases. All applicants are encouraged to bring learnings from other therapeutic areas to their research projects. Their proposal must have a defined scientific approach and rationale that can advance diagnostics or treatments for Lyme disease. Applications will be accepted through February 15, 2021, at midnight pacific. The full criteria and application for this award can be found here.

“This year has given us all the opportunity to consider the great importance of medical research and the devastation that can arise when a pathogen is not well-understood by the medical and scientific community,” said Wendy Adams, research grant director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “We clearly need novel approaches to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, and we hope these awards offer the support that innovative researchers require.”

The Emerging Leader Award grant is designed to be a catalyst for future research that increases the scope of investigation in Lyme disease. Offering a springboard for researchers to explore novel, scientifically well-founded concepts, the ELA encourages the submission of early-stage research with potential utility in diagnostics and therapeutics for Lyme disease. In fact, many ELA recipients have subsequently received grants from other groups including the NIH, as well as continued support from Bay Area Lyme Foundation and its research partners.

The $250,000 ELA grant targets veteran scientific talent with the title of associate professor or above who have conceptualized a research approach that taps learnings from work in other fields. The $100,000 ELA grant is offered to researchers who are currently at the post-doctoral level through assistant professor level or equivalent, including those who have not previously worked in Lyme disease research. The efforts funded by this award are required to generate initial proof of concept within 18–24 and 12–18 months, respectively.  Important criteria for all applicants include demonstrated professional and scientific leadership in the biomedical sciences and a strong supporting scientific rationale for the project.

Past ELA recipients have come from institutions including Brandeis University, Harvard University/Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Louisiana State University, North Carolina State University, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the University of California, San Francisco.

Recent Emerging Leader Award recipients include:

  • 2020 award winner Jacob Lemieux, MD DPhil, a post-doctoral researcher in the Sabeti Lab at Harvard University and an infectious disease fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He holds a B.S. from Stanford University, a D.Phil. in molecular parasitology from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and member of the NIH-Oxford Graduate Partnership Program, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
  • 2020 award winner Artem Rogovskyy DVM PhD is currently an Assistant Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University.  He received his PhD in Veterinary Science from Washington State University, his M.S. in Food Science at Louisiana State University, and his D.V.M. in Veterinary Medicine from the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine.
  • 2019 award winner Geetha Parthasarathy, PhD, Research Scientist at Tulane University.  She was awarded the Emerging Leader Award in 2019 for her development of novel therapeutic modalities for Lyme neuroborreliosis. Through this initiative, she is evaluating fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors as possible therapeutic approaches. In addition, she plans to study how FGFR may mediate the neuroinflammation caused by B. burgdorferi in the central nervous system and whether inhibitors of the FGFR pathway could serve as a supplemental therapy in acute Lyme neuroborreliosis.

Applicants must submit an application, research proposal, and at least one supporting letter from their supervising manager or Principal Investigator

About Lyme disease
The most common vector-borne infectious disease in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. There are more than 400,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2018 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, more than one million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.

About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The LaureL STEM FUND covers overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.

 

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

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