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Research Foundation for Tick-Borne Infections Fights Lyme Disease, Babesiosis and Encephalitis with Pilot Studies
Date:2/15/2013

Wilton, CT (PRWEB) February 15, 2013

The National Research Fund for Tick-Borne Diseases (NRFTD) has announced grant awards totaling $240,000 to four investigators in North America to study key aspects of Lyme disease, babesiosis and Powassan encephalitis. The NRFTD is the nation's only non-profit organization dedicated solely to funding scientific research in the rapidly expanding field of tick-borne infections.

“We continue to receive remarkably innovative applications,” said Carl Brenner of the NRFTD Research Board. “It is always difficult for our reviewers to choose among them, but we feel that the ones selected for support in this cycle were particularly noteworthy. We are fortunate that our donors were generous enough this year to allow us to fund four projects – projects that we hope will eventually translate into tangible benefits for patients.”

The four $60,000 grant winners were selected following a rigorous peer-review process by the NRFTD’s distinguished Scientific Advisory Board, using guidelines similar to those established by the National Institutes of Health. Three ad hoc reviewers from leading national academic institutions provided additional expertise in the review of the applications.

Dr. Brian Stevenson, a Professor at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, has been awarded a grant to study the influence of a newly-discovered protein, called EbfC, on gene expression in Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Vector-borne pathogens like B. burgdorferi are transmitted back and forth between hosts and need to sense and respond to their environment by upregulating expression of certain proteins while suppressing others, depending on their current host environment, in order to enhance their chance for survival. Dr. Stevenson has discovered that EbfC, a site-specific DNA-binding protein, regulates expression of over 5
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