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Six Investigators Awarded Lyme Research Alliance Grants
Date:5/23/2013

ular workings of the Lyme bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). Dr. Culotta’s research group, working in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, recently discovered that Bb can exist in the absence of iron, crucial to the survival of other bacteria. That phenomenon explains how Bb may evade the immune system, which often acts against foreign invaders by starving them of iron. “The discovery that iron uptake by Bb inhibits its growth and survival raises many possibilities and avenues to be studied for alternative treatment options,” said Dr. Kotsoris.  
  • An LRA grant has been awarded to Armin Alaedini, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, New York. Individuals who experience chronic Lyme disease, have specific antibodies to parts of the Bb surface protein, VIsE.  Dr. Alaedini and his team will study whether the symptoms of post-Lyme disease syndrome may be the result of an inflammatory response, as the immune system works to produce a wider variety of VIsE antibodies, not seen in healthy controls or successfully treated Lyme disease patients. 
  • Also receiving a grant is Ying Zhang, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.  The drug Pyrazinamide (PZA) in combination with other drugs, is used to kill drug-resistant strains of latent tuberculosis bacteria. Dr. Zhang will assess the activity of PZA against “persisters,” Borrelia that become tolerant to antibiotics yet later rebound to start a new wave of infection. He
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