ASPPH logo


School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Columbia: Center for Infection and Immunity Scientist Receives Grant for Lyme Disease Research

Dr. Rafal Tokarz, research scientist at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s Center for Infection and Immunity (CII), received a $350,000 grant from Global Lyme Alliance (GLA), an organization dedicated to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. The award is part of a $2 million grant earmarked for new research and related projects at top-tier universities and medical institutions.

The two-year grant will fund continued work and expansion of the TDB-Serochip, diagnostic test developed at CII that is capable of identifying any tick-borne disease in the United States.

CII, directed by Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and Professor of Neurology and Pathology, is one of the world’s largest academic centers focused on microbial surveillance, discovery, and diagnosis. In recent years, his team of researchers helped to identify numerous pathogens, including a new strain of Ebola, and advanced research into the mechanisms of several diseases, including autism and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Research by Dr. Tokarz focuses on microbial discovery and the epidemiology of human infectious diseases. His primary interests center on investigating respiratory and tick-borne pathogens and understanding their roles in human disease. As part of this work, Dr. Tokarz uses cutting edge molecular platforms to identify and characterize novel viral agents.  He was one of the first scientists to document high rates of pathogen co-infections in ticks within New York State. Thus far he has discovered 20 novel tick-associated viruses.

“Our new grantees…are especially exciting in terms of their scientific breadth and depth,” states GLA. Dr. Tokarz’s project is “Development and Validation of a Multiplex Serologic Assay for Tick-borne Diseases.”

Tags: ,