This project stems from the observation that an acquired tick resistance (ATR) to blacklegged tick
(Ixodes scapularis) blood feeding provides partial (~70%) protection from Lyme disease spirochete
infection in a Guinea pig (GP) model. The project builds upon a suite of novel high-throughput
antigen screening tools, developed over the past 5 year period; these tools have allowed us to
investigate the tick's salivary transcriptome and begin to define its immunome, bringing us closer
to understanding how to achieve effective host immune defense against tick-transmitted pathogens.
Specifically, this project's goal is to identify a vaccination strategy for protecting against
a broad array of tick-transmitted infections, testing the hypothesis that this protection can
be achieved by using one or more tick salivary antigens to induce an ATR response.
The work has been supported by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 37230.