Dr. Eva Sapi – Geneticist, Microbiologist (Two Videos Available)

The Silent Role of Biofilms in Chronic Disease Forums Biofilm Community Expert Interviews Dr. Eva Sapi – Geneticist, Microbiologist (Two Videos Available)

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    • #2807 Score: 0
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        Dr. Eva Sapi was the first person to discover that the microbe that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia Burgdorferi, creates biofilm communities (both mono and polymicrobial) to protect itself from the assaults of the human immune system (and possibly animals) as well as antibiotics. Her research during the past two years involves documenting the tick populations in Connecticut – and especially the contents of these naughty ixodes. So far, she and her team have shown that ticks carry mycoplasmas, Erlichia, Bartonella, Protozoa and even microfillaria (worms)!

        Faculty Profile

        Q: Which University professor has Lyme Disease, and is researching it too?

        A: Dr. Eva Sapi, a professor of cellular and molecular biology.

        A Break Through for Lyme Disease Sufferers

        As carefree picnickers and backpackers innocently pursued their leisure this summer, deer ticks hauling bigger weapons than Lyme Disease awaited them.

        New research has faulted deer ticks for a host of other ailments that do not respond to penicillin. The research has taken shape after a controversy regarding Lyme Disease has raged for more than a decade. Enter Dr. Eva Sapi, a professor of cellular and molecular biology at the University. Before Dr. Sapi’s brain swelled after she was bitten by a deer tick, she was researching cancer cures. But once she showed all the symptoms of Lyme Disease, including trouble walking, she went in for testing and came out baffled. Her Lyme Disease test was negative.

        “Researchers don’t even know what Lyme Disease is,” she says. “I realized that somebody had to go back and test the ticks.” Who better than Dr. Sapi? A noted researcher and former Yale post doctoral/operative fellow in therapeutic radiology, Dr. Sapi quickly tripped on some ground-breaking research: she discovered that deer ticks could be infected with mycoplasma, a rogue life form. The tick passes the mycoplasma onto the human, resulting in all kinds of chaos. Once Dr. Sapi began looking, she found other pathogens living in deer ticks.

        Such chaos occurring in patients who test negative for Lyme Disease, including a herd of doubting physicians she had consulted for her own illness, moved Dr. Sapi to help. “I have been to so many doctors who laughed at me,” she said. A mix of determination and humor keeps her Dodds Hall lab humming with graduate student researchers. Split into teams charged with various missions, Raghavender Kukunoor, Pushpa Durgesh Rao, Sumyuktha Komarigiri, Sonali Solanki, all of India, and Kristin Bovat of Watertown, worked with Dr. Sapi this summer. Assistant Professor Saion Sinha of the Physics Department joined them in an attempt to use nanotechnology to create a new, more accurate detection test. As it stands now, the best test for Lyme Disease still offers a seventy percent false negative rate.

        “If you know a person has mycoplasma, you can treat it,” Dr. Sapi says. She cited a small New Jersey study of seven patients with Lyme symptoms who tested negative for Lyme Disease. But when the physician handling the cases tested for mycoplasma, all seven patients tested positive. Once treated, they all showed signs of improvement.

        Dr. Sapi presented research on mycoplasma at the national Lyme Disease conference at the University of New Haven in May, and has submitted a paper on the topic to the Journal of Medical Entomology. She has also been seeing a naturopathic doctor in the Hartford area, whose treatment seems to be working. Not one to overlook any part of the puzzle, “I need my brain,” she says.

        Courtesy of the UNH Website, see this link.

      • #3364 Score: 0
          2 pts

          The ten minute video clip is complete and you can view it on YouTube at this link. In June or July, we will attach the entire interview transcript, given the importance of Dr. Sapi’s discovery and confirmation of Borellia Burgdorferi’s ability to create biofilm. Her paper detailing this phenomenon will be posted here in the near future.

          In the meantime, if you would like to see the second part of the interview, it features her grad student David who is a microscopy whiz (as well as other with other types of scopes). You can listen to him explain and show the Bb biofilm using bioluminescense & visual microscopy techniques. It’s interesting and ground-breaking!

          Please noteone link where you can watch it.

        • #2808 Score: 0
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            Novel Fugitive Strategy for Borrelia burgdorferi: Biofilm
            Luecke David Francis BS, Datar Ak****a BS, Kaur Navroop MS, Bien-Aime H Lubraine BS, Bastian Scott BS, Sinha Saion PhD, Sapi Eva PhD

            Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Group, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of New Haven, West Haven, CT 06516 USA

            Although antibiotic compounds exist that are demonstrably effective against planktonic Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, many patients that have been diagnosed with Lyme disease continue to have persistent symptoms that do not respond to treatment. B. burgdorferi is a known pleomorphic species, able to adopt alternative, defensive morphologies to increase antibiotic resistance of the individual. One of these morphologies is the cyst form, which is resistant to the front line antibiotic treatment. Additional compounds are effective against the cyst form, yet still patient symptoms persist.

            Here we have employed several modes of microscopy to characterize another alternative morphology, the biofilm. Among optical microscopy techniques, dark field microscopy was used to observe the interaction of peripheral spirochetes with the biofilm, DIC microscopy revealed the heterogeneity of the biofilm matrix, and fluorescence microscopy enabled observation of the sessile internal biofilm population in a GFP-expressing population. A relatively new technique, atomic force microscopy, was used to directly scan the topography of the biofilm. The ability of B. burgdorferi to assume a biofilmic morphology may partly explain the continuing presence of symptoms in chronic Lyme sufferers. The B. burgdorferi biofilm likely provides a refuge for chronic Lyme infection, and offers an additional avenue of attack for potential treatments for Lyme disease.

            Expression Profile of Quorum Sensing Biomarkers during Biofilm Development in Borrelia burgdorferi
            Bien-Aim H. Lubraine BS, Kaur Navroop MS, Datar Ak****a BS, Luecke David BS, Mpoy Cedric BS, Pabbati Namrataben MS, Sapi Eva Ph.D.

            Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Group, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of New Haven, West Haven, CT 06516 USA

            We have recently suggested that Borrelia burgdorferi is capable of hiding in a self-made protective layer called biofilm. The main purpose of the biofilm structure is to allow microbes to survive various environmental stresses, including the presence of attacking immune cells or antibacterial agents. 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. To be able to prevent and destroy Borrelia burgdorferi biofilm, we need to better understand the molecular mechanism taking place during biofilm development.

            In this project, we have chosen to monitor specific genetic markers, which regulate communication in the biofilm, so called “quorum sensing”. The quorum sensing biomarkers pfs and luxS are part of the Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) biosynthetic pathway. The pfs enzyme detoxifies S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) to S-ribosylhomocysteine (SRH), and the luxS enzyme catalyzes the conversion of SRH to (S)-4,5-dihydroxy-2,3-pentanedione (DPD) and homocysteine. The expression profile of pfs and luxS biomarkers were compared under planktonic and biofilm environments. Borrelia total RNA was extracted in 24-hours increments from 0-hours (planktonic) to 96-hours of biofilm formation, cDNAs were prepared, and Real-time PCR was performed.

            Our results showed that both markers were tightly regulated between the 48 to 96 hours period. LuxS was down regulated from 48 to 72-hours, and up regulated from 72 to 96 hours. Interestingly, pfs yielded to a similar regulation pattern. In summary, our results show that regulation of quorum sensing genes, such as luxS and pfs, is dynamic and provide excellent markers to monitor biofilm development in Borrelia burgdorferi.

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