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Dr. Eva Sapi

Dr. Eva Sapi, professor of cellular and molecular biology and director of the Lyme Disease Research Group at the University of New Haven (UNH), has been awarded a $5,100 grant by Time for Lyme, Inc. (now Lyme Research Alliance http://www.lymeresearchalliance.org/ ) to help complete the final steps in a project that could lead to significant improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. 

Previous research by Dr. Sapi and UNH’s Lyme Disease Research Group has demonstrated that the bacteria that causes the disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, is capable of resisting antibiotic treatment by “hiding” in a self-made protective layer called biofilm.  This discovery could explain why some people infected with Lyme disease continue to have symptoms even after treatment with traditional antibiotic therapy.

According to a report previously released by Sapi and the UNH researchers, “While conventional antibiotic therapy is usually effective against free-floating bacteria, it is frequently ineffective once pathogens have formed biofilms, because biofilm colonies can be up to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics.”

This latest project is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms taking place during biofilm development, in order to be better able to prevent and destroy it. Without the protection of the biofilm, the hope is that diagnostic tests and antibiotic treatments for Lyme disease can be made much more effective.

Here are a few of her inspiring videos explaining her work with biofilms and how her work may help find a reliable treatment for curing Lyme disease in the future.

http://youtu.be/AmvgOfIN_8c - a short clip of her own experience.

http://youtu.be/a4uNDWdChM8 - At the end of UNDER OUR SKIN, Dr. Alan MacDonald presented a revolutionary new hypothesis that Lyme bacteria are able to shroud their colonies with protective biofilms and this may explain why these pathogens can be so difficult to eradicate with short courses of antibiotics.

His collaborator, Eva Sapi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, is exploring why and how these biofilms form, in hopes of developing more effective treatments for chronic Lyme sufferers.

The green fragments on the screen are DNA from Borrelia burgdorferi strain B31, fluorescently tagged to glow under the special illumination of a dark field microscope.

Dr. Sapi has a personal wesbite for people to get to know her better.  Visit her at:

http://www.evasapi.net/

 

Jenna Smith

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