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.

catherine brissette

Catherine Brissette, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, University of North Dakota
Dr. Brissette’s research focuses on bacteria-host interactions, with a particular interest in pathogenic spirochetes. The overarching theme of her laboratory is to discover how these microbes persist and cause long-term infections. Dr. Brissette is particularly interested in understanding why B. burgdorferi has tropism for the central nervous system, and in elucidating the function of outer surface proteins that interact with the mammalian host. Current GLA-funded research project: “Epigenetic modifications induced by Borrelia burgdorferi: implications for persistent symptoms”

“Epigenetic modifications induced by Borrelia burgdorferi: implications for persistent symptoms”

Neurological symptoms may persist in a significant number of Lyme patients. Dr. Brissette studies whether the regulation of gene expression may differ in brain cells exposed to Borrelia compared to unexposed cells. This will pave the way to new understanding of neurological manifestations of Lyme disease.

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
Dr. Baumgarth studies the regulation of immune responses to infections and focuses on T cell interactions with B cells. Current GLA-funded research project: “Host responses to B. burgdorferi infection”

“Host responses to B. burgdorferi infection”

Dr. Baumgarth continues to research the immune response to Borrelia infection and how dysfunctions in B-cell function may lead to ongoing symptoms. Using the mouse model of Borrelia infection, she has shown that inappropriate and inadequate antibody responses may correlate with persistent infection.

alan barbour

Alan Barbour, M.D.

Professor, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics School of Medicine, University of California-Irvine
Current GLA-funded research project: “Whole transcriptome sequencing of infected outbred Peromyscus, natural host for tick-borne pathogens”

“Whole transcriptome sequencing of infected outbred Peromyscus, natural host for tick-borne pathogens”

Wild mice are the host reservoir for Borrelia burgdorferi and other tick-borne pathogens. However, they do not appear to suffer symptoms. Dr. Barbour’s studies will analyze whether gene expression patterns in infected compared to uninfected wild mice can explain why bacterial infection appears to be tolerated or contained by these animals.

John Aucott

John Aucott, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Dr. Aucott is a leading expert in clinical research on the diagnosis and epidemiology of Lyme disease. He is the founder and former president of the Lyme Disease Research Foundation, a public nonprofit organization founded to promote research and education in Lyme disease. Current GLA-funded research project: “Antineural antibodies in Lyme disease”

“Antineural antibodies in Lyme disease”

Patients who suffer continued symptoms after treatment for acute Lyme disease may have increased levels of antibodies against self-proteins. Dr. Aucott’s research will investigate whether antibodies targeting various neural proteins may be associated with neurological symptoms.

Armin Alaedini

Armin Alaedini, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, NY
Dr. Alaedini’s research has focused on the relevance and role of the body’s immune system in chronic Lyme disease. Individuals who experience chronic Lyme have specific antibodies to parts of the Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) surface protein, VIsE, and these antibodies may evolve as the disease progresses. Current GLA-funded research project: “Immunologic Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome”

“Immunologic Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome”

Dr. Alaedini continues his work on characterizing the immune response to Borrelia bacteria. He has shown that antibodies that bind to VlsE protein on the surface of the bacteria change over disease course. He is also studying whether elevated inflammatory markers correlate with persisting symptoms.