NSF awards UCLA, Claremont McKenna College $800k for big data Lyme disease research

Julie Spitzer -

The National Science Foundation awarded researchers at UC Los Angeles and Claremont (Calif.) McKenna College a three-year, $800,000 grant to use big data techniques to explore treatment for Lyme disease.

The big data project will source information from LymeDisease.org, a patient advocacy organization that operates a registry called MyLymeData. The registry has enrolled over 9,000 patients since its launched in 2015, and comprises more than one million data points related to the nature and severity of symptoms and what treatments have been most effective.

Using the data from MyLymeData, the researchers will explore predictive analytics techniques to identify and target treatment approaches for patients with Lyme disease.

"Big data research is key to advancements in Lyme disease," said Lorraine Johnson, CEO of LymeDisease.org and principal investigator of MyLymeData. "The largest government-funded study of chronic Lyme patients enrolled just 129 patients. Our goal is not only to gather data to help find a cure, but also to help recruit patients for clinical trials."

The effort will be led by Deanna Needell, PhD, mathematics professor at UCLA, and Blake Hunter, PhD, assistant professor of mathematical sciences at Claremont McKenna College.

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