Our 2017-18 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. See also the Deborah and Mark Blackman-GLA postdoctoral fellowships.

LEARN MORE: Read Lyme Disease Research Report: Looking Back, Moving Forward for a comprehensive look at GLA’s research accomplishments.


Kim Lewis

Kim Lewis, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor and Director, Antimicrobial Discovery Center, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Dr. Lewis continues his study to identify drugs and combinations of drugs that may be useful for treating Lyme disease more effectively than current therapies. STUDY (2017-18): “Treatment of Lyme disease”

Dr. Lewis has found novel drugs that are effective against persister forms of B. burgdorferi in the test tube, and will extend this work
to the mouse model of Lyme disease. His work will identify new potential targets for antimicrobial therapy, and illuminate the role of the host response in clearing infection.

STUDY (2017): “Discovery of new antibiotics and combos”

henry hampton

Henry Hampton, Ph.D.

Institute for Systems Biology

Genetics, particularly the expression of different genes in response to Lyme disease, may determine whether a patient recovers or continues to suffer symptoms. Dr. Hampton’s work will address gene expression changes in patients at various stages of Lyme disease. STUDY (2017-18): “A longitudinal systems-level dissection of the immune response during Lyme disease”

It is not clear why some people with Lyme disease develop persistent symptoms after antibiotic therapy while others do not. Dr. Hampton is analyzing blood from infected individuals and studying immune cells at multiple time points. He studies how gene expression and immune proteins vary during disease progression.

STUDY (2017): “Gene transcription in PTLDS patients: postdoc training”

ying zhang

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

Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Zhang will continue his work of identifying and defining how certain essential oils harbor antibacterial effects on persister forms of B. burgdorferi. STUDY (2017-18): “High activity of selective essential oils against Borrelia persisters

Dr. Zhang has found effective antibiotic combinations that kill persister B. burgdorferi in the test tube. He will determine whether antibodies that recognize persister bacteria exist in patients with Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. This could lead to a diagnostic test for dormant Lyme bacteria.

STUDY (2016-17): “Persister antibodies in PTLDS patients?

catherine brissette

Catherine Brissette, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, University of North Dakota

Dr. Brissette will study the effect of maternal Lyme disease on the offspring of infected mice, and will determine the timing of transplacental (from mother to fetus) infection. STUDY (2017-18): “Adverse outcomes in gestation as a consequence of immune responses to B. burgdorferi infection during pregnancy”

Dr. Brissette has identified Borrelia adhesion proteins which promote bacterial infection, penetration and persistence. She is studying epigenetic changes in human cells that are exposed to B. burgdorferi to determine whether inflammatory changes are due to differences in gene expression.

STUDY (2016-17): “Control of Bb DNA expression”

nicole baumgarth

Nicole Baumgarth, D.V.M, Ph.D.

Professor of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology, Center for Comparative Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA

Antibodies, made by the immune system, are important in controlling infections. The carbohydrates attached to them may affect how well they function. Dr. Baumgarth will study how B. burgdorferi infection in mice promotes changes in the composition of these sugars, which may be another tactic used by the bacteria to cause immune dysfunction. STUDY (2017-18): “Defining protective antibody-mediated immunity to Borrelia burgdorferi”

An abnormal immune response to B. burgdorferi may be one reason why we become sick from Lyme disease and in some cases, continue to be ill after antibiotic treatment. Using the mouse model of Lyme disease, Dr. Baumgarth studies the role of helper CD4+ T cells, which may fail to respond appropriately, and cause antibodies to remain high on Western Blots.

STUDY (2016-17): “Immune cell dysfunction in mouse model of Lyme disease