NIH funding opportunities (2) – Novel Approaches to Understanding, Preventing and Treating Lyme Disease and Tick-borne Coinfections (R01, R21)

May 17, 2016 by School of Medicine Webmaster

This description was taken from the R01 version of this FOA.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the United States, with state health departments reporting more than 36,000 annual cases in a recent report and CDC estimates of 300,000 cases per annum.

Globally, Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, which comprises multiple species, three of which commonly infect humans: B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. afzelii and B. garinii. In the United States, where B. burgdorferi ss is the causative agent of Lyme disease, additional Borrelia species have recently been reported that may complicate accurate diagnosis of the disease. In addition, other pathogens transmitted by Ixodes ticks can cause coinfections, and the effects of those infections on Lyme disease remain largely unknown.

Recent scientific advances using genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic approaches have uncovered an abundance of genes, effectors and metabolites previously unappreciated for their role in Lyme disease transmission and/or pathogenesis. By tapping this new and growing data resource, the field is poised to advance our understanding of Lyme disease and co-infections transmitted by Ixodes ticks and develop new products for the translational pipeline.

Research Objectives

This FOA is designed to encourage the research community to submit applications focusing on gaps in our understanding of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato infections, new Lyme-related borrelioses, and Lyme coinfections, with the ultimate goal of advancing the field towards solutions for the improved detection, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.

Examples of research topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Better understanding the roles of genetic polymorphisms and strain variation in host competence and human disease
  • Host and bacterial factors that may contribute to post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms
  • Bacterial persistence in Lyme borreliosis and relevance to disease
  • Role of Lyme disease-associated metabolites in Borrelia burgdorferi infections and disease
  • Phenotypic shifts during the B. burgdorferi life cycle, and effects of those shifts on survival, transmission and disease
  • Approaches to new vaccines against Lyme disease, including traditional, vector-targeted and reservoir-targeted approaches
  • The effects of tick-transmitted coinfections on Borrelia survival within the vector, as well as transmission, pathogenesis, and host response
  • Approaches to interrupting the transmission and natural history cycle of Lyme disease
  • Improved diagnostics for rapid detection of acute Lyme disease and for assessment of treatment efficacy
  • Studies of pathogen/tick interactions to better understand how the bacterium develops, multiplies and mobilizes within the tick host.
  • Studies on tick immunity and its role in regulating Borrelia development in the tick.
  • Studies on the effect of tick factors, especially saliva, and their impact on the transmission of Borrelia to vertebrate hosts.
  • Studies on the microbiome of Ixodes, its interaction with Borrelia, and its influence on the tick’s ability to support and transmit this pathogen.
  • Studies on human immunity and its role in the initiation and propagation of Lyme arthritis. Use of systems biology approaches to identify critical cellular and molecular pathways involved in pathogenesis is encouraged.
  • Studies of the joint tissue remodeling pathways and the cross-talk of a wide range of hematopoietic and other cell types in Lyme arthritis.

NOTE:  Clinical trials will not be supported under this FOA. Please see the revised NIH definition of “clinical trials” in NOT-OD-15-015.


Deadlines:  standard dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities