Experts Hack for Lyme Disease Solutions in Boston and Berkeley
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Supports the First Hackathon for Lyme Disease to Inspire Innovation
Silicon Valley, CA, April 18, 2016— To inspire innovation to help solve the challenges of Lyme disease, 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, is supporting Lyme Innovation, the first ever Hackathon for Lyme disease, a potentially devastating condition newly infecting 329,000 people each year. Scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from both U.S. coasts participated in this innovative event, which kicked off this weekend, and will continue in Cambridge June 17 – 19, at the Microsoft Nerd Center.
On March 2nd, Bay Area Lyme again hosted another of its Speaker Series events. These popular salon-style events allow community members to come together in an intimate forum to share stories and hear directly from experts in the field.
Dr. Ben Beard, PhD, Chief Bacterial Diseases Branch at the CDC, visited with Bay Area Lyme and invited guests as part of the foundation’s ongoing speaker series. This donor-sponsored forum brings together researchers and other experts in an intimate forum for topical discussions with community members. Past events have included Emerging Leader Award winners, clinicians, and patient advocates.
The next event, on Wednesday, March 2, will feature Dr. Christine Green, Director of Education for ILADS, and Allie Cashel, author of Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial.
As Chief of the CDC’s Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in Fort Collins, Colorado, Dr. Beard coordinates CDC’s programs on Lyme disease, plague, and tularemia. His scientific interests include public health and the biology, ecology, and genetics of insect-borne diseases and vectors. More recently, he has been extensively involved in the CDC’s work to understand and mitigate the potential impact of climate variability and change on infectious disease ecology. He shared the CDC’s concerns about the expanding disease burden and distribution of Lyme and affirmed the importance of attracting new research interest and efforts focused on Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.
Reflections from a Promising Dialogue at the AAAS Conference in Washington, DC, November 17-18
by Lia Gaertner, BAL Science Committee
Some weeks ago, two members of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation Science Committee, Wendy Adams and Lia Gaertner, attended a leadership symposium in Washington, DC, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and entitled, “Innovations-X: Rising Above the Politics for Progress in Science.” The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, with more than 125,000 individual and institutional members, and the publisher of Science magazine. Its mission is “to advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.”At this event, there were three “wicked problems” discussed over two days: climate change, global/mobile health, and Lyme disease. This blog, written by Lia Gaertner, will focus only on the Lyme portion of the conference.
Foundation Supports More Researchers Nationwide andExpands Advisory Board to Include Cancer Researcher and Lyme Survivor Neil Spector, MD
Silicon Valley, CA — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research in the US, today released its roster of 2015 research grant recipients. Collectively these researchers received $1.5 million from the Foundation for research related to Lyme disease, a growing epidemic with more than 329,000 reported new cases each year according to the CDC. The organization also highlights the exponential increase in donations to the Foundation in 2015, including more than $6 million that will go directly to support research over the next few years, and announced the addition of Duke University cancer researcher/physician and Lyme survivor Neil Spector, MD to its Scientific Advisory Board.
“With so many unanswered scientific questions related to Lyme, it is exciting to be a part of the growing focus on Lyme disease research and increased scientific creativity in approaches to identifying new diagnostics and treatments,” states Linda Giampa, Executive Director.
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Grant Application for Two $100,000 Awards for Lyme Disease Research
‘Emerging Leader Award’ aims to attract new scientific talent to address scientific challenges of Lyme disease
Silicon Valley, California, October 5, 2015—The Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading national funder of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced a call for applications for two $100,000 Bay Area Lyme Foundation ‘Emerging Leader Award’ grants.These awards will be given to two promising scientists who embody the future of leadership in Lyme disease research in the US.The award recipients will be researchers in academia or the private sector who are currently at the post-doctoral level through the assistant Professor level, or equivalent, who have identified a defined approach to improve 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 the award are required to generate initial proof of concept within 12–18 months.
Why is it that Lyme disease is so little understood, so hard to diagnose, and so frustratingly difficult to get treated? Such were the questions discussed last night at the first of the new Bay Area Lyme Foundation Speaker Series talks.
2014 Emerging Leader Award recipient Jerome Bouquet, PhD, UCSF, began the program with a compelling overview of the history of Lyme disease and its pathology, highlighting some of the complicated attributes of the Lyme-causing spirochete and the manifestations of its infection. He touched on promising new technologies like the Tick Chip and the IBIS-developed Iridica, which use unbiased DNA amplification and multiplex assays with greater sensitivity (and more immediate results) than traditional methods. He also described promising developments in transcriptomics that have illustrated the lingering effects of the disease up to six months after treatment, and
New Study Reveals Ticks in Bay Area Carry Larger Diversity of Bacteria Than Expected and May Help Explain Why Lyme Disease Symptoms Vary Widely Among Bay Area Patients
Rates of tick infection with Borrelia miyamotoi are found to be higher in the Bay Area than previously documented on East Coast, and Tick-borne disease infection risk is shown to be higher in Redwood habitats than previously believed
SILICON VALLEY, Calif., August 19, 2015 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which is working to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, highlights a new Bay Area studyconducted by researchers from Stanford and Northern Arizona Universities documenting a vast diversity of bacterial species and strains that cause tick-borne diseases in Bay Area residents and visitors.The variety of bacterial species and strains identified may be the reason that Bay Area patients with tick-borne diseases experience a wide range of symptoms, which may or may not include flu-like complaints, joint pain, fatigue and a rash of differing shapes, thereby making exact diagnoses extremely difficult.
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Awards Grant to Harvard Medical School Researchers for Development of an Accurate Test for Lyme Disease
2015 Emerging Leader Award Seeks to Accelerate Scientific Solutions for Lyme Disease
PORTOLA VALLEY, CA — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the leading national nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research, today announced that the winners of its 2015 Emerging Leader Award, are collaborators Nira Pollock, MD, PhD, and John Branda, MD. The $100,000 grant that accompanies this award will support their research on a potential biomarker for Lyme disease, which may lead to the development of a novel urine test for early Lyme disease. The most commonly used diagnostic for Lyme disease, the two-tier serological ELISA/Western Blot process, misses up to 60% of cases of early stage Lyme.
“Lyme is a debilitating illness for which diagnosis is critical for cure.” –Dr. Jerome Bouquet
Jerome Bouquet, PhD, was recognized in May 2014 as an Emerging Leader in the field of Lyme research. This award recognizes creative ingenuity and novel approaches for the development of better diagnostics and treatment for Lyme disease. The award also carries a $100,000 project grant to fund a new research initiative. Here, Dr. Bouquet talks about his work in the field and his funded project, “Development of a Host Biomarker Assay for the Diagnosis of Acute and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease.”
Q: Earlier this year, you were recognized by Bay Area Lyme Foundation as one of the Emerging Leaders in the field of Lyme disease research.Tell us about your project, what do you hope to accomplish?
A:The project emerged as a result of (1) the lack of sensitive diagnostics for Lyme disease; and (2) the expertise of our laboratory in next generation sequencing. We are developing the unbiased detection of a large number of pathogens. But Lyme disease is trickier, because Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for the disease, is only transiently present in the blood at low titer. So instead of looking for the pathogen, we are examining the human host at a cellular level. How do immune cells respond to the infection and how can we decode and measure their response? That’s what transcriptome profiling is.