Monica E. Embers

Monica E. Embers obtained her Ph.D. in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, P.A., where she studied immune responses to Papillomaviruses.  She made the transition to the study of bacterial pathogenesis when performing her postdoctoral research on the Lyme disease spirochete at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC).  She subsequently joined the faculty at the TNPRC.  Dr. Embers is an Associate Professor in the Division of Immunology and the Director of Vector borne Disease Research at the TNPRC.  Her research program regarding Borrelia burgdorferi and Lyme disease specializes in animal models and is centered around three major efforts: (1) identifying treatments that can eradicate B. burgdorferi infection; (2) identification of Lyme disease spirochetes in human tissues; and (3) immunodiagnosis for B. burgdorferi infection and cure. The first research goal is to use animal models of persistent infection to evaluate new therapeutic strategies.  The second goal is to evaluate humans for persistent infection with B. burgdorferi. The third goal is to develop a quantitative multi-antigen test that expands detection limits and helps to distinguish persistent infection from clinical cure.   By transmitting Lyme disease to mice and nonhuman primates by tick, and studying the natural course of infection, her group hopes to facilitate a better understanding of the clinical quandaries of human Lyme disease, including effective diagnosis and treatment.