Tick-borne Diseases: Developing Molecular Approaches to Detect Babesiosis

8/15/2019


Abstract

Tick-borne diseases (TBD) among humans are on the rise in the United States as urbanization along previously unpopulated areas continues. The causative infectious agents of TBDs include bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. As part of our pledge to support global health, ATCC has acquired and authenticated numerous reference materials that are ideal for use in the development and evaluation of innovative therapeutics and rapid diagnostic tools. In this webinar, we will provide an overview of TBD epidemiology, the current status of diagnostic methods, and resources available from ATCC that advance TBD research priorities. A special focus will be placed on recent projects aimed at improving the diagnosis of babesiosis via Droplet Digital™ PCR and mass spectrometry technologies.

Key Points:

  • The most common TBDs in the United States are Lyme disease, caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, and babesiosis, caused by the protozoan parasite Babesia microti.
  • The accurate diagnosis of TBD can be complicated by the possibility of co-infection, which exacerbates disease symptomatology; therefore, more accurate detection methods are required.
  • ATCC scientists are working toward improving the diagnosis of babesiosis via cutting-edge technologies.

Presenters

Robert Molestina, Ph.D.

Robert Molestina, Ph.D.,
Senior Scientist, ATCC

Robert Molestina, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at ATCC. He manages the parasitic protozoa collection of BEI Resources and has served as the subject matter expert in the Protistology Laboratory overseeing the development of assays for molecular authentication of protists, optimization of culture and cryopreservation protocols, and implementation of small animal models for in vivo parasite propagation. Dr. Molestina’s recent work at ATCC resulted in the development of quantitative PCR assays to detect babesiosis in blood and proteomic analysis of Babesia infection in vivo. Dr. Molestina received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky.