Our Researchers

Ute Frevert, DVM, PhD

Ute Frevert, DVM, PhD is Associate Professor of Parasitology at the NYU School of Medicine, and Principal Investigator of the study entitled: Animal Model of Human Lyme disease with Emphasis on the Brain.

Parasitology is the study of parasites and their hosts, and how they interact. NYU medical parasitologist, Dr. Ute Frevert and colleagues, had the idea of applying a rodent animal model of malaria, another epidemic illness that begins with an insect bite, to the study of CNS Lyme disease by tracking the dissemination of spirochetes across the blood-brain barrier where the insult is most severe. This novel animal investigation was made possible by the acquisition of genetically engineered Borrelia spirochete colonies from Yale University that glow when exposed to green fluorescent protein (GFP). By tracking the immunofluorescent spirochetes, Dr. Frevert and colleagues will gather extensive valuable information over the next three years including the time it takes the spirochete to reach the brain and exactly what damage occurs there.

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Oded Gonen PhD

Oded Gonen, PhD, is Professor of Radiology at the NYU School of Medicine, and Principal Investigator of the clinical trial: MR Imaging (MRI) and Proton Spectroscopy (1H-MRS) Coupled with Whole Brain N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) In Lyme Disease study.

Neuroradiology is the science of how the brain is imaged. NYU neuroscientist Dr. Oded Gonen had the idea of testing whole brain magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS), best known for its precision in the diagnosis and prognosis of multiple sclerosis, in patients with Lyme disease. This technique is far more sensitive than conventional nuclear medicine spectroscopy (SPECT) and MRI because it analyzes the whole brain in three dimensions not just two. Coupled to N-acetyl-aspartate or NAA, a sensitive marker of global neuronal function, Dr. Gonen believes that whole brain 1H-MRS will provide new insight into brain dysfunction in patients with CNS Lyme disease, and hopes to track its damage and eventual recovery with intravenous antibiotic treatment

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David Zagzag MD, PhD

David Zagzag, Ph.D., M.D. is Associate Professor of Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine, and Principal Investigator of the clinical trial entitled: SDF1- a and CXCR4 in Lyme disease.

Neuropathology studies the microscopic changes in tissue structure, as well as the immunological and biochemical changes in the nervous system particularly the brain. NYU neuropathologist Dr. David Zagzag had the idea of studying pathways involved in the regulation of the protein molecule fusin or SDF1-a, an inflammatory mediator or chemokine in the body. It is already known immune T cells specifically produced in response to Borrelia infection are found in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with acute Lyme encephalitis. By following changes in the concentration of the fusin pathway and the immune cells in the blood and CSF of study patients, Dr. Zagzag hopes to develop new assays to monitor patients receiving intravenous antibiotics in every stage of CNS Lyme disease from active infection to the late stages of the illness, all the way to a cure. research.

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