SILICON VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading national funder of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced a call for applications for two $100,000 Bay Area Lyme Foundation 'Emerging Leader Award' grants. These awards will be given to two promising scientists who embody the future of leadership in Lyme disease research in the US. The award recipients will be researchers in academia or the private sector who are currently at the post-doctoral level through the assistant Professor level, or equivalent, who have identified a defined approach to improve diagnostics or therapies for Lyme disease. Important criteria include demonstrated professional and scientific leadership in the biomedical sciences and a strong supporting scientific rationale for the project. Research efforts funded by the award are required to generate initial proof of concept within 12 - 18 months.
"Lyme disease research requires fresh approaches and novel thinking to address the lack of reliable diagnostics and therapeutics, especially for late stage disease," states Wendy Adams, member of Bay Area Lyme Foundation's Advisory Board and also a member of its Science Committee. "The award offers opportunities to promising scientists from both academia and industry to apply their insights, expertise and dedication towards finding a reliable diagnostic and desperately needed cure for Lyme disease."
The award, along with other Bay Area Lyme efforts, aims to fill a gap in Lyme research funding as National Institutes of Health funding for Lyme disease research is paltry. While there are six times as many people diagnosed in the US each year with Lyme than HIV, Lyme disease receives less than 1% of the public funding that is allocated for HIV/AIDS.
Previous Emerging Leader Award recipients include:
- Lisa K. Blum, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine, whose work on the immune response to Lyme disease has the potential to help elucidate why some people have short-term symptoms from a Lyme infection and why others become chronically ill, as well as the hope of leading to the development of an improved diagnostic and/or therapeutic.
- Jerome F. M. Bouquet, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco, who is working to identify "biomarkers" that will allow for the development of a clinical diagnostic for both acute and post-treatment Lyme disease. Dr. Bouquet presented promising preliminary data from this research at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), an annual conference of the American Society for Microbiology, which took place in August 2015.
- John Branda, MD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School and Assistant Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Dr. Branda's research focuses on improving patient care through the development of new diagnostic strategies and the optimization of laboratory tests and antimicrobial agents, including tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme borreliosis, anaplasmosis, and tularemia.
- Nira Pollack, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, and Associate Medical Director of the Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Pollock's research has a special interest on the development and evaluation of novel diagnostic tests for infectious diseases and related applications. Her Lyme-related work has included the discovery of novel biomarkers of early Lyme borreliosis.
Applications will be accepted from researchers throughout the United States through January 15, 2016. Announcements of Awards will be made during Bay Area Lyme Foundation's annual LymeAid™ fundraising event in April 2016. The full criteria and application for this award can be found at http://www.bayarealyme.org/research/emerging-leader-award.
About Lyme disease
One of the most common infectious diseases in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. There are about 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2015 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, as many as one million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.
About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national nonprofit organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is a leading private sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A national 501c3 nonprofit organization based in Silicon Valley, the Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.
SOURCE Bay Area Lyme Foundation