Major Areas of Research
- Evaluation, treatment, and follow-up of patients with Lyme disease to assess clinical outcomes.
- Development of new diagnostic tests and identification biomarkers for Lyme disease.
- Investigation of the immune response to B. burgdorferi infection.
- Understand the mechanisms underlying post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms.
- Search for the cause of STARI.
Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is a multisystem illness caused by the spirochete Borreliella (Borrelia) burgdorferi. B. burgdorferi is transmitted by ticks of the Ixodes ricinus complex (the deer or black-legged tick). Lyme disease is the leading vector-borne disease in the United States, with an estimate of 300,000 cases a year.
Lyme disease usually begins with the characteristic skin lesion, erythema migrans, at the site of the tick bite. After several days or weeks, the spirochete may spread hematogenously and patients may develop neurologic, cardiac and rheumatologic involvement. While most patients recover from Lyme disease with antibiotic therapy, a percentage of patients have persisting or relapsing subjective complaints after therapy. This syndrome of nonspecific symptoms has been named post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).
Our research has focused on exploring disease mechanisms in B. burgdorferi infection; assessing clinical outcomes in Lyme disease; development of new diagnostic tests and identification of biomarkers of infection; characterization of immunological responses to B. burgdorferi; and on investigation of potential causes of PTLDS.
We also are searching for the cause of Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI). STARI is a rash similar to erythema migrans that is associated with the bite of the lone-star tick. The cause of the rash is unknown, as is the natural course of the associated disease.
Tokarz R, Mishra N, Tagliafierro T, Sameroff S, Caciula A, Chauhan L, Patel J, Sullivan E, Gucwa A, Fallon B, Golightly M, Molins C, Schriefer M, Marques A, Briese T, Lipkin WI. A multiplex serologic platform for diagnosis of tick-borne diseases. Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 16;8(1):3158. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21349-2.
Marques A, Schwartz I, Wormser GP, Wang Y, Hornung RL, Demirkale CY, Munson PJ, Turk SP, Williams C, Lee CR, Yang J, Petzke MM. Transcriptome Assessment of Erythema Migrans Skin Lesions in Patients with Early Lyme Disease Reveals Predominant Interferon Signaling. J Infect Dis. 2017 Dec 27 ;217(1). doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix563.
Turk SP, Williams C, Marques A. Xenodiagnosis Using Ixodes scapularis Larval Ticks in Humans. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1690:337-346. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7383-5_26.
Uhde M, Ajamian M, Li X, Wormser GP, Marques A, Alaedini A. Expression of C-Reactive Protein and Serum Amyloid A in Early to Late Manifestations of Lyme Disease. Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Dec 1;63(11):1399-1404.
Wills AB, Spaulding AB, Adjemian J, Prevots DR, Turk SP, Williams C, Marques A. Long-term Follow-up of Patients With Lyme Disease: Longitudinal Analysis of Clinical and Quality-of-life Measures. Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Jun 15;62(12):1546-51. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw189.
Marques A, Telford SR 3rd, Turk SP, Chung E, Williams C, Dardick K, Krause PJ, Brandeburg C, Crowder CD, Carolan HE, Eshoo MW, Shaw PA, Hu LT. Xenodiagnosis to detect Borrelia burgdorferi infection: a first-in-human study. Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Apr;58(7):937-45. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit939.
Clinical Research Protocols
Lyme Disease Studies
- 15-I-0131 Xenodiagnosis after Antibiotic Treatment for Lyme Disease
- 05-I-0219: Microarray Analysis of Erythema Migrans Lesions
- 02-I-0055: Evaluation, Treatment, and Follow-up of Patients with Lyme Disease
- 96-I-0052: A Comprehensive Clinical, Microbiological, and Immunological Assessment of Patients with Suspected Chronic Lyme Infection and Selected Control Populations