Global Lyme Alliance Expands Research Program with Announcement of Inaugural Postdoctoral Fellowships

Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen that causes Lyme disease.

The new fellows are hard-working, brilliant young scientists with fresh ideas who will tackle the mechanistic underpinnings of PTLDS.

Global Lyme Alliance (GLA), the leading 501(c)(3) dedicated to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research, education and awareness, today announced the awarding of its first-ever fellowships to five young postdoctoral scientists whose work focuses on Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) or chronic Lyme.

The three-year fellowships, made possible with the support of Deborah and Mark Blackman, will support five recent Ph.D. graduates with specific interest in understanding whether persistence of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease pathogen, or host evasion mechanisms are responsible for the continued symptoms experienced by patients treated for Lyme disease.

“The new fellows are hard-working and brilliant young scientists with fresh ideas who will tackle the mechanistic underpinnings of PTLDS,” said Mayla Hsu, Ph.D., GLA’s director of research and grants. “We’re delighted to be able to support these researchers at the beginning of their careers.”

The five are:

George Aranjuez, Ph.D., University of Central Florida, is studying the molecular mechanisms that Borrelia uses to survive during mammalian infection and how it evades the immune system.

Ashley Groshong, Ph.D., University of Connecticut, is examining the link between Borrelia protein metabolism and its ability to form persister cells thus evading antibiotic assault.

Matthew Muramatsu, Ph.D., University of Texas-Southwestern, is exploring how the genetics of persister Borrelia differ from that of replicating bacteria. His work will focus on how the transcription signals that start the persister pathway are regulated.

Bijaya Sharma, Ph.D., Tufts University, is studying whether immune deficiency is related to continued symptoms in Borrelia-infected mice. Her work explores the genetic factors in Borrelia that underlie bacterial persistence.

Xuran Zhuang, Ph.D., University of Maryland, will use tick microinjection to study the growth of persister bacteria and its genetic pathways in samples she recovers…

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