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UNH Symposium Focuses on Developments in Lyme Disease Research May 18

Release Date:
4/26/2013 12:00 AM

Lyme Research Group, sciences, Eva Sapi, 500px 
Eva Sapi (in back) and the Lyme disease research team at UNH

WEST HAVEN, CONN. – A symposium about new research related to Lyme disease will take place at the University of New Haven on Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 7 p.m.

The sixth annual UNH Lyme disease symposium—hosted by Eva Sapi, associate professor of biology and environmental science—will take place in University Theater in Dodds Hall on the main campus, 300 Boston Post Road. The symposium is free and open to the public.

New research exploring the mysteries of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacteria, will be discussed, including the sensitivity each of the different formations (spirochete, cyst and biofilm) of Borrelia burgdorferi have to antimicrobials, as well as the ultrastructure and the molecular components of the recently discovered Borrelia biofilm formation and the effect of the disease on children. There also will be discussions on novel serological and culture tests and special lectures addressing the complexity of medical treatment options.

Dr. Charles Ray Jones, a physician who has treated more than 10,000 children from virtually every state and many nations for Lyme disease, will be the keynote speaker.  A graduate of New York Medical College, he interned in pediatrics at St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan and went on to become chief resident at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Jones opened a pediatrics practice in Hamden, Conn., in the 1960s.  In the mid-1970s, he encountered a new form of juvenile arthritis, which shortly came to be identified as Lyme disease.

Other speakers include Jyotsna Shah, vice president and laboratory director of IGeneX, a  laboratory located in Palo Alto, Calif. where she has been involved in the development of novel technologies for diagnosis of Lyme and tick-borne diseases. She has more than 25 years of research experience in immunology, molecular biology and microbiology.

Joseph J. Burrascano, a graduate of New York University School of Medicine, who has had a strong interest in tick-borne diseases for more than 20 years, will also speak. He is one of the world’s leading experts on diagnosing and treating Lyme and associated tick-borne diseases and the author of the “ILADS Lyme Diagnosis and Treatment Guidelines.”  The author of numerous papers in medical journals, he heads several ongoing research projects, including one on the development of new laboratory tests for Lyme disease.

Dr. Alan B. MacDonald, a physician who has participated in research activities related to tick-borne diseases since 1981, will also speak. He was the first investigator to publish images of Borrelia spirochetes without regular corkscrew morphology in 1987. He is also interested in a possible connection between Alzheimer's disease and Lyme borreliosis. His latest research focuses the novel formation of Borrelia, which could have an antibiotic resistant characteristic.

Sapi, who will chair the conference, will also speak about her research on the presence of different formations (spirochete, cyst and biofilm) of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacteria.  She also studies resistance of these different forms to antibiotics and natural agents.

For further information about the symposium, please visit the UNH Lyme disease research website:

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University operates a satellite campus in Tuscany, Italy, and offers programs at several locations throughout Connecticut and in New Mexico and California. UNH provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. The University enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.