2021 Emerging Leader Awards



Bay Area Lyme Foundation Offers $150,000 Grant for Emerging Leaders in Lyme Disease Research

Annual award seeks to attract innovative researchers with a new approach to overcome the challenges of tick-borne diseases

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., October 19, 2022—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, is announcing a call for entries for their 2023 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which aim to recognize both established and up-and-coming researchers bringing new approaches and creative thinking to the field of Lyme disease. This year, the Foundation has increased the ELA award to $150,000 for researchers in academia or the private sector who are at the post-doctoral level through associate professor level. 

While applicants must have a defined approach to improving diagnostics and therapeutics for Lyme disease, the grants are open to those who have previously worked in Lyme disease research as well as researchers from other therapeutic areas. Applications will be accepted through February 15, 2023 at 11:59pm, Pacific Time. The full criteria and application for this award can be found at https://www.bayarealyme.org/our-research/emerging-leader-award/. 

“Despite modest increases in government funding, there is still a significant need for ‘out of the box’ ideas pulled from proven scientific approaches in other therapeutic areas,” said Wendy Adams, research grant director Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “We fund innovative scientifically-sound research and are seeking driven, rigorous scientists who can help make progress towards developing accurate diagnostic tests and effective therapeutics for various stages of the disease.”

The Emerging Leader Award is designed to support research that will increase the scope of investigation in Lyme disease and help develop better diagnostics and treatments. Bay Area Lyme Foundation encourages researchers to explore novel, scientifically well-founded concepts with potential utility toward that goal. Many ELA recipients have subsequently received grants from other groups including the NIH, as well as continued support from Bay Area Lyme Foundation. The efforts funded by this award are required to generate initial proof of concept within 12-24 months and requires applicants to demonstrate professional and scientific leadership in the biomedical sciences and a strong supporting scientific rationale. 

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:

  • 2022 award winner Nichole Pedowitz, PhD, is a post-doctoral researcher in the Bogyo Lab at Stanford University School of Medicine. She received a dual B.S. in Chemistry and Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Southern California. 
  • 2022 award winner Peter Gwynne, PhD, earned a BSc in Biochemistry from Cardiff University and a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from The University of Edinburgh, where he completed two postdoctoral positions developing an antimicrobial medical device that improves pharmaceutical bioprocesses. 
  • 2021 award winner Michael P. Rout, PhD, is a professor and Head of Laboratory at the Laboratory of Cellular and Structural Biology at the Rockefeller University and earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Cambridge and has B.A. and M.A degrees in Zoology. Dr. Rout has formed the National Center for Dynamic Interactome Research, which includes several collaborating laboratories at Rockefeller and other institutions.  
  • 2021 winner Brandon Jutras, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech, who earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the College of Medicine at University of Kentucky. He is also part of the Center for Emerging, Zoonotic, and Arthropod-borne Pathogens, the Molecular and Cellular Biology program, in addition to the Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health program at Virginia Tech. 

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 approximately 500,000 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
Phone: 908-369-7168

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *