The Neighboorhoods Project

The Neighborhoods Project aims to explore the ecological risk for Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses in built environments by assessing nymphal and adult tick density and infectivity, reservoir host infectivity, and landscape features in urban and peri-urban settings in the Upper Susquehanna River Basin. Our research attempts to understand how people use built environments and the demographic and behavioral factors that increase human contact with infected ticks. The data gathered is then combined with a geospatial analysis of each neighborhood using drone technology and system dynamics modeling for risk of contact with infected ticks and a translation of our findings into the development of public health prevention strategies to minimize risk at the individual, household, neighborhood and community levels.

The Parks Project

The Parks Project is an effort to determine the distribution of ticks that cause Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses, their primary reservoir host (the white-footed mouse) and the human behaviors and actions that produce an increased risk of infection in our state and county recreational park dystem. Our primary area of concern for this project is the six-county region of the Upper Susquehanna River Basin with 16 state and county parks selected for study. The region is situated just west of the Hudson River Valley, where the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the U.S. has occurred. Thus far, we have completed two years of research on high-traffic trails and walkways in parks with high human activity and we expect to extend the project three additional years to assess human risk of infection across all seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall) when ticks are active.

Additional projects by core areas (Diagnostics and Treatment; Public Health Education and Outreach; and Ecology, Epidemiology and Risk Modeling)

Diagnostics and Treatment

Coordinator: Wes Kufel

  • Association of Serum Procalcitonin Concentration in Acute and Chronic Lyme disease (Project 2), Wes Kufel
  • Improvements in Diagnostic Testing and Treatment Response Monitoring for Lyme disease (Project 4), Wes Kufel
  • Development of a Diagnostic Protocol for Tick-Borne Co-infections (Project 8), Michel Shamoon Pour
  • Optimization of A Diagnostic Protocol for Early Lyme Infection (Project 10) , Michel Shamoon Pour
  • Shared Resource for Proteomics and Biomarker Studies of Lyme disease (Project 12), Yetrib Hathout 
  • Molecular mimicry in chronic Lyme (Project 15), Kanneboyina Nagaraju
  • Sequestration of Borrelia burgdorferi in the competent reservoir host Peromyscus leucopus and correlation with organ specific human clinical symptoms in Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome Patients (Project 18), Ralph Garruto
  • Fourth Stage of Lyme disease: diagnosis-treatment interval hypothesis (Project 20), John Darcy

Public Health Education and Outreach

Coordinator: Sarah Lynch

  • Lifestyle Impacts and Population Health: Impacts of Acute and Chronic Lyme disease (Project 5), Amanda Roome 
  • Pharmacist prescription of preventative antibiotics (Project 6), Sarah Lynch 
  • Health Agencies and Impact on Acute and Chronic Lyme disease (Project 3),  Amanda Roome 
  • New York Community pharmacists' knowledge of Lyme disease and current treatment regimens (Project 16), Sara Spencer 
  • Policy changes in New York State to enable prevention of Lyme disease (Project 17), Sarah Lynch 

Ecology, Epidemiology and Risk Modeling

Coordinator: Amanda Roome

  • Acarological Risk of Lyme Disease in areas of High Human Activity in the Upper Susquehanna River Basin of New York (Project ),  Amanda Roome
  • Lyme disease in Built Environments: The Neighborhood Project (Project 7), Ralph Garruto
  • Systems Dynamics, Modelling and GIS Mapping of Lyme disease (Project 9), Nasser Sharareh
  • Modelling the Risk of Lyme disease in Built Environments (Project 11), Nasim Sabounchi
  • Reproductive Physiology of Ticks (Project 13), Julian Shepherd
  • Vegetation Analysis and Lyme disease Transmission (Project 14), Julian Shepherd
  • White-tailed Deer and Dogs as Sentinels for Pathogenic Ehrlichia Species (Project 19), Rita Spathis