Tackling the transmission of tick-borne diseases
EU funded POSTICK project
The spring and early summer season always brings out the worst in ticks, but their worst could get even worse. Rising temperatures, changing land use and globalization could lead to an extension of the prevalence of ticks and to an increase of their population density in the future, providing the blood-sucking arthropods with new habitats and survival strategies. The POSTICK project will search for new ways of controlling and preventing transmission of tick-borne viral, bacterial and parasitological pathogens, including those causing tick-borne encephalitis (known as FMSE in Germany) and Lyme borreliosis. The collaborative project has just received a grant of nearly 3 million Euros from the EU for research for 4 years. “Our first objective is to understand the interaction between the infected tick and its vertebrate host”, says LMU veterinarian Professor Kurt Pfister, who is the coordinator the project. “This will involve precise identification of the pathogens present, and the characterization of their transmission mechanisms and survival strategies. We are also interested in studying how the vertebrate host’s immune system reacts to the pathogen and how the immune response can be manipulated to eliminate the pathogen. Finally, we want to identify molecules that could be used as a basis for a vaccine that can effectively reduce the incidence of pathogen transmission to cattle or other animal species.” POSTICK stands for “Postgraduate Training Network for Capacity Building to Control Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases” and, as the name implies, the project places special emphasis on the training of young researchers who are at an early stage in their careers.
For further information see www.postick.eu
Professor Kurt Pfister
Institute of Comparative Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 – 3622