LSU Veterinary School researcher receives $250,000 to research Lyme disease



Dr. Grasperge

BATON ROUGEBritton Grasperge, DVM (LSU SVM 2007), PhD (LSU SVM 2012), DACVP, assistant professor in Pathobiological Sciences, and Monica Embers, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University, have received a $250,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their research project, entitled “Identification of Tick Chemoattractant(s) for B. Burgdorferi.” The grant period is from August 2016 – July 2018.


“The current standard of diagnostic testing for Lyme disease is inadequate in many instances of infection,” said Dr. Grasperge. “Dr. Ember’s and my current research aims to ultimately create a novel technique for identifying Lyme causing bacteria in infected patients so that treatment can be better targeted for those individuals.”


Earlier in 2016, Dr. Grasperge, who is originally from New Orleans, received the Alexander Cohen Emerging Leader Award and a $100,000 grant from the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to further his research to identity substances within the tick saliva that are responsible for attracting the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in an effort to develop a better diagnostic. The Bay Area Lyme Foundation is a leading non-profit funder and advocate of innovative Lyme disease research in the U.S.


Click here to read the NIH project summary. 


About Lyme disease

One of the fastest growing vector-borne infectious diseases in the United States, 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 approximately 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.


The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.