Our 2016-17 Grantees

Global Lyme Alliance identifies and funds the most innovative and promising projects specific to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Grantees are chosen from top universities and medical institutions across the globe. GLA-funded researchers represent the best and the brightest Lyme disease researchers in the field. We are proud to showcase some of our research grant recipients.

Kim Lewis

Kim Lewis, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor and Director, Antimicrobial Discovery Center, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Dr. Lewis’ work involves the study of antimicrobial drug tolerance and drug discovery. His focus is on “persisters,” cells that evade killing by antibiotics. Current GLA-funded research project: “Treatment of Lyme disease”

“Treatment of Lyme disease”

Dr. Lewis continues his work identifying new antibiotics that may be efficacious in treating Lyme disease. He is particularly interested in finding antimicrobials that may be effective against persister forms of the bacteria.


A.T. Charlie Johnson

A.T. Charlie Johnson, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Dr. Johnson is focusing on the development of a new diagnostic technique that uses single-layered molecular graphene sheets attached to antibodies that react with specific proteins carried by the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. Current GLA-funded research project: “Effective Lyme disease diagnostic”

“Effective Lyme disease diagnostic”

The currently approved Lyme disease diagnostic test, based on the detection of antibodies that recognize bacterial proteins, is fraught with inaccuracy. Dr. Johnson is developing graphene technology that may be applied to the direct detection of Borrelia bacteria themselves.

henry hampton

Henry Hampton, Ph.D.

Institute for Systems Biology
Current GLA-funded research project: “A longitudinal systems-level dissection of the immune response during Lyme disease”

“A longitudinal systems-level dissection of the immune response during Lyme disease”

It’s not understood how some patients continue to suffer persisting symptoms after antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. Determining the genetics of these people compared to those who are cured may explain why. Dr. Hampton’s work will study RNA expression in these patients together with characterizing inflammatory markers in their blood.

ying zhang

Ying Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. Zhang’s work focuses on drugs that might work against “persisters,” Borrelia that are tolerant to antibiotics, and are able to rebound to start a new wave of infection after antibiotic treatment. He is also involved in the discovery of new antibiotics and understanding their mechanism of action against Lyme bacteria. Current GLA-funded research project: “Persister antigens for improved diagnosis of Lyme disease”

“Persister antigens for improved diagnosis of Lyme disease”

Persister forms of Borrelia may differ from replicating bacteria in their antigenic composition. If persister bacteria are in patients who have chronic symptoms from Lyme disease, they may have specific antibodies that recognize them. To address this question, Dr. Zhang will compare blood from these patients with healthy controls.

janakiram Seshu

Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, University of Texas-San Antonio
Current GLA-funded research project: “Metabolic control of virulence potential”  

“Metabolic control of virulence potential”

Borrelia bacteria have limited ability to synthesize fatty acids, and must scavenge these from the host in which they live. Dr. Seshu studies this dependence to identify specific weaknesses in the pathogen that can be the basis of designing new drugs to kill the bacteria.