Alumna's research into Lyme disease highlighted on the Today Show
Sarah Whiteside '13, now pursuing a doctorate at the University of Utah Health, is researching why some Lyme disease symptoms persist even after antibiotic treatment.
A recent segment on NBC's Today Show featured a member of Elon's Class of 2013 who is now pursuing a doctorate in microbiology and immunology at the University of Utah.
Sarah Whiteside, who graduated from Elon with degrees in biochemistry and economics, is the first author on a recently published study that examined why some symptoms of Lyme disease infections persist despite antibiotic treatment. Whiteside and her fellow researchers believe that they have found that persistent Lyme arthritis is the result of an immune system that is overactive. The research appeared in The Journal of Immunology."
The Today Show, a national morning talk show, featured the research and Whiteside during a Feb. 5 segment. From the Today Show report:
"Using a mouse model to explore what could be happening to unlucky patients, researchers discovered that an infection with the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, could spark an aberrant immune reaction in which cells that normally target specific pathogens become activated in a more general way. In other words, the body is attacking itself.
“'I grew up in Vermont and Lyme disease affected people all around me,” said the study’s lead author Sarah Whiteside, a graduate student at the University of Utah. “It was far worse for those people that continued to suffer even after antibiotic treatment.'”