ISB News

ISB’s Moritz Lab Lands NIH Grant to Study Lyme Disease

Andrea Varela-Stokes

Dr. Andrea Varela-Stokes of Mississippi State University, pictured, was a guest speaker at ISB in Seattle on October 25, 2016.

The Moritz Lab has received research funding totaling nearly $525,000 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health to develop “novel peptide based biomarkers for Lyme disease diagnostics.”

The Moritz group has been at the forefront of the development of whole proteome assay repositories and will apply this technology to Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, to develop assays of acute infection in patient blood to detect the presence of Borrelia infection.

This work is in collaboration with Drs. Klemen Strle (Massachusetts General Hospital), Melissa Caimano (UConn Health) and Andrea Varela-Stokes (Mississippi State University) to access clinical samples of Borrelia burgdorferi relevant to highly infectious forms of the bacteria, as well as bacteria that is co-cultured with cells from ticks that bite and transfer Lyme disease to humans. Using quantitative selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mass spectrometry, a database of assays targeting invariant Borrelia burgdorferi protein remnants will be developed and tested in patient blood samples as the forerunner to establishing a simplified point-of-care test.

To kick start the Lyme protein diagnostic program, Dr. Varela-Stokes visited ISB on October 25 and gave a lecture on the Lyme vector (tick) hosts and discussed techniques with the Moritz group to perform tick cell and Borrelia bacteria co-culture to manipulate the bacteria into sensing an environment penultimate to human infection.

Recent Articles

  • Drs. Naeha Subramanian, Leah Rommereim Gilmore, and Ajay Suresh Akhade

    Small, Persistent Increase in the Expression of NOD1 May Promote Cancer Risk

    ISB researchers have found that a small, persistent increase in the expression of NOD1 could be responsible for higher cancer risks. The research team found that a slight 1.5-fold uptick in NOD1 expression can activate the protein and downstream signaling pathways in a manner similar to vast (30- to 200-fold) overexpression.

  • CRI iAtlas

    CRI iAtlas Expands to Interactive Analysis of Data on Immunotherapy Treatments

    CRI iAtlas is a comprehensive web-based resource that allows oncologists and researchers to study and analyze interactions between tumors and the immune microenvironment. The iAtlas team released immuno-oncology modules that allow investigators to access and work with genomics data from trials of treatment with immune-checkpoint inhibitors.

  • Last-Minute Gift Ideas: 2020 Edition

    Wait, what day is it? What month is it? This year has been a doozy. The pandemic has fundamentally changed our lives, and at times, has made us feel like we’re in a real-life Groundhog Day. Well, if you’ve found yourself in the last-minute shopping scramble, we’re back with a half dozen solid ideas that we hope will make your gift-giving life easier.