A major gap in Lyme disease research is the lack of well-characterized biological samples. We created the Lyme Disease Biobank (LDB) to help bridge that gap, ensuring that scientists have the samples they need for their research into better diagnostic tests for Lyme disease and related co-infections.

The Lyme Disease Biobank is:

  • A network of regional collection centers from endemic regions across the country
  • A central laboratory that handles all processing and storage
  • A consistent set of stringent protocols, validation, and testing
  • A BAL-supported organization with strong independent leadership and the oversight of a clinical advisory committee to ensure the appropriate rigor and methods


The Lyme Disease Biobank:

  • Substantially increases the amount and diversity of biospecimens available
  • Includes well-annotated clinical data and longitudinal samples
  • Enables follow-up and recontact with consenting participants for further clinical assessment
  • Provides standardized and transparent access for qualifying projects
  • Creates standard vocabulary and lexicon to help build consensus and move the field forward
  • Facilitates interaction and collaborations between researchers, leading to more research innovation and medical breakthroughs

Biobank Collection Sites

Application Process

The application process is as follows. Please contact Dr. Liz Horn (info below) with questions.

Submission: Investigators submit an application including a technical proposal, justification for the number of samples requested, funding source, dissemination plan, and CV.

Peer review: Each application is peer-reviewed and scored by an ad-hoc committee of three experts.

Final approval: Applications with competitive scores are presented to the Lyme Disease Biobank board for approval.

Signed paperwork: Blinded and de-identified samples are released upon receipt of an executed MTA, payment, and approval or exemption from the applicant’s IRB.

Liz Horn, PhD, MBI, Principal Investigator

Results to date

Initiated with a Fund-A-Need campaign at our annual LymeAid benefit (May 2014) and with just 4 seasons of collection complete, we have now enrolled ~450 participants at 4 sites. Each participant’s donation provides samples for ~50 research projects, with aliquots of whole blood (1 and 2 ml), serum (250 μl), and urine (1 ml). Several larger aliquots (5 ml) are also available. Detailed clinical information and testing data are also collected to better characterize the samples. Currently, samples from the first 3 years of collection (~270) are available to investigators through an application process. Samples collected in 2017 are being tested and will be made available as of Spring 2018.

How Can You Get Involved?

The Biobank is an important undertaking that will dramatically improve research access to quality samples and expedite the discovery of new treatments and diagnostics. To learn more about this project and how to get involved, please contact click here or Donate Now to make a contribution.


*A June 2013 National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) survey indicated that 84% of the research scientists could not access the samples they need (blood tissue, saliva, etc.) and 96% believed there was a critical need for a centralized biorepository.