Fueling the Research Engine

Lyme Disease Biobank

BAL Leading the Way Series

 

How a chance meeting and the harnessing of big data led to a research initiative that’s finding answers in Lyme and tick-borne disease

Many different groups comprise the Lyme disease community including patients, their families, healthcare providers, researchers and nonprofit organizations. These nonprofit organizations and foundations may differ in size, structure, fiscal basis, focus and approach, but in one important aspect they are united: the search for answers.

This search for answers in the realm of Lyme and tick-borne diseases has served as a unifying driver, even when dissent and controversy has sometimes fragmented the Lyme community.  And despite what seems to be a constant uphill battle for recognition and legitimacy of Lyme and tick-borne infections, many believe that we’re on the brink of major breakthroughs to help patients and doctors unlock the medical mysteries that make these infectious diseases so confounding. Two people cautiously optimistic about where we are in the search for answers about Lyme are Liz Horn, PhD, MBI, Principal Investigator, Lyme Disease Biobank, and Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, LymeDisease.org and Principal Investigator MyLymeData.

The Future of Lyme Diagnostics: How Wearable Technology May Lead to Fast, Accurate and Reliable Lyme Disease Detection

Mike Snyder PhD Wearables Project

BAL Leading the Way Series

 

Remember when we used to watch Captain Kirk talk into his chirping communicator and order Scotty to beam him up? And what about that handy medical scanner the size of a pack of cards that Dr. McCoy waved around to assess and diagnose his patients in the starship’s sick bay? We may now all have smartphones to stay in constant touch with each other, but outside of a state-of-the-art hospital with multi-million-dollar scanners and MRI machines, we are still some years away from the Star Fleet’s instantaneous medical technology, right? 

Wrong.

Advances in our ability to gather real-time information on the human body are poised to revolutionize not just how we diagnose diseases, but make dramatic, life-altering, positive impacts on the critical timeline for diagnosis and treatment by detecting a disease event before symptoms occur. And Bay Area Lyme is leading the way by investing in research that will further illuminate our understanding of how—in real time—a Lyme infection impacts the human body through the data collected by wearable technologies.

What To Do If You Find a Tick

Ticktective Podcasts

Dan Wolff, aka "Tick Man Dan"

Dan Wolff “Tick Man Dan”, the founder and president of TickEase tweezers, the only patented, CDC-compliant, two-sided tweezer created expressly for removal of embedded ticks from people and pets.. He discusses his invention, what to do when you find a tick, ecology of ticks, and how Tony Fauci ended up at his bar mitzvah. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.

Calling All Scientists: Bay Area Lyme Foundation Now Accepting Applications for 2022 Emerging Leader Award

ELA winner Michael Rout

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Calling All Scientists: Bay Area Lyme Foundation Now Accepting Applications for 2022 Emerging Leader Award 

Grant aims to inspire new research for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, California, December 6, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, is announcing a call for entries for their 2022 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which recognize U.S. researchers from academia or the private sector who bring new approaches to the field of Lyme disease and embody the future of Lyme disease research leadership. At least two grants in the amount $100,000 each will be awarded. Proposals must have a defined scientific approach and rationale that can advance diagnostics or treatments for Lyme disease, and applicants are encouraged to bring innovative learnings from other therapeutic areas to their research projects. Applications will be accepted through March 15, 2022, at midnight Pacific Time. The full criteria and application for this grant award can be found here.

“The world is seeing firsthand the damage that infections can cause—both in acute and chronic forms. Just has COVID has encouraged collaboration, we hope that existing Lyme scientists as well as scientists from other disease areas will apply for this grant, offering new hypotheses and technologies to diagnose and treat Lyme and other tick-borne disease,” said Wendy Adams, research grant director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. 

Citizen Scientist Study Fuels Launch of First Series of Interactive U.S. County Maps of Ticks Carrying Diseases

Citizen Science Tick Testing Maps

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Citizen Scientist Study Fuels Launch of First Series of Interactive U.S. County Maps of Ticks Carrying Diseases

– Study finds ticks carrying disease-causing bacteria in 116 counties where they have not been previously documented by CDC –

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA, October 20, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research in the U.S., today announced the launch of interactive national tick maps of U.S. counties based on data published in mSphere, a multidisciplinary open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The new data identify Ixodes ticks carrying disease-causing pathogens in 116 counties which were not previously identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

“The area known to harbor disease-carrying ticks continues to expand, and we hope people across the US will use these interactive maps to learn more about the risks for their hometowns, their family’s residences and vacation spots,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “The citizen scientists contributing to this study allowed the country’s collective tick knowledge to advance further than even the CDC could do at this time. Gaining the support of citizen scientists allowed us to collect from many counties across the country where ticks are not usually collected and tested, or they are not tested for these pathogens.”

Our Most Recent Tick Ecology Studies and What We’ve Discovered

Ticktective Podcasts

Dan Salkeld, PhD, Research Scientist in the Department of Biology at Colorado State University, and tick researcher extraordinaire.

Dan Salkeld, PhD, Bay Area Lyme Scientific Advisory Board member, discusses the ecology and epidemiology of Lyme and other emerging tick-borne pathogens such as Borrelia miyamotoi. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Selects National Winners of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards to Advance Research for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

2021 Emerging Leader Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Selects National Winners of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards to Advance Research for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

Brandon Jutras, PhD of Virginia Tech, Nitya Ramadoss, PhD of Stanford University and Michael P. Rout, PhD of The Rockefeller University are this year’s recipients

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., July 6th, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., announces the recipients of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which are designed to support promising scientists who represent the future of Lyme disease research leadership. Michael P. Rout, PhD of The Rockefeller University will receive $250,000 for his work with nanobodies to develop a sensitive point-of-care diagnostic. Brandon Jutras, PhD of Virginia Tech and Nitya Ramadoss, PhD of Stanford University will each receive $100,000 toward the development of a novel direct-detection diagnostic approach for Lyme disease and a novel therapeutic based on B-cell mapping, respectively. Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection diagnosed in nearly half a million Americans each year.

“As there is not a diagnosis or treatment that works for all patients, there is a critical need to develop direct-detection diagnostics as well as treatments that can prevent the development of persistent Lyme disease, and we are excited to support these novel approaches that have shown success in other areas,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

Two of the award winners will utilize biological samples from the Lyme Disease Biobank, a program of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, to collect well-characterized human tissue, blood and urine specimens to accelerate research of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

 

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study

Study Funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation Also Shows Ticks in Northern California Carry a Diversity of Disease-causing Bacteria at Higher Rates Than Previously Reported

Portola Valley, CA, April 23, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of a study demonstrating that adult Western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, were found in beach areas at equal rates to the woodland habitats in parts of northwestern California. Further, researchers, who were testing ticks for up to 5 species of tick-borne bacteria, found that the collective infection rate of all species was as high as 31% in at least one area, which offers a different perspective from previous studies that tested for a single species of bacteria in a specific area or areas. Conducted by researchers at Colorado State University, Northern Arizona State University and Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), the research points to the need for greater education for both the community at large and healthcare providers about the risks of tick-borne disease.

“The high rate of disease-carrying ticks in the coastal chaparral was really surprising to us. And when looking at all the tick-borne pathogens simultaneously, it makes you rethink the local disease risk,” said Lead Author Daniel Salkeld, PhD, Colorado State University. “Previously, we, along with other researchers, may have missed the big picture when we focused our attention on investigating the risk of one pathogen at a time. Now, we have a new imperative to look at the collective risk of all tick-borne pathogens in an area.”

First Female US Air Force Thunderbird Pilot and Her Fiercest Battle Yet

Ticktective Podcasts

Col. Nicole Malachowski, Former Deputy Director for US Air Force Readiness and Training for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Ambassador

Col. Nicole Malachowski, first female Thunderbird pilot, National Women’s Hall of Famer, and Former Deputy Director for US Air Force Readiness and Training for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Ambassador shares her challenging journey from military fighter to Lyme warrior. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.

Proof of Persistent Lyme

Ticktective Podcasts

Monica Embers, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine and Bay Area Lyme Scientific Advisory Board member

Monica Embers, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center and Bay Area Lyme Scientific Advisory Board member discusses xenodiagnosis, Borrelia persistence, and her ongoing research in non-human primates. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.