Dr. Barbour is one of the pioneers in the Lyme disease field having worked with Willy Burgdorfer to identify the cause of Lyme and having been the first to isolate and grow the bacteria in the laboratory. Most recently, Dr. Barbour and his colleagues have increased their attention on the wildlife that serve as reservoirs of Lyme disease and other deer tick-borne pathogens in nature. Studies of a major animal host, the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), led to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation-supported project with UCI’s Dr. Anthony Long to sequence the genome of P. leucopus. Once this is accomplished, their objective is to carry-out the first genome-wide association studies in this animal model. Expectations are this research will not only aid efforts at developing control methods that target disease reservoirs but also will point to human genetic counterparts that may account for the persistence of infection or inflammation in some people.
Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, UC Irvine