An Interview with Robert S. Lane, Ph.D.

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An Interview with Robert S. Lane, Ph.D.

Postby rlstanley » Sat 3 Apr 2010 18:58

An Interview with Robert S. Lane, Ph.D.

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. March 2010, 10(2): 211-215. doi:10.1089/vbz.2010.1502.
Published in Volume: 10 Issue 2: March 29, 2010
----------------------------------- ... .2010.1502

Robert S. Lane, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, College of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley.

—Interview by Vicki Glaser

Dr. Robert Lane received a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), an M.A. degree in biology at San Francisco State College, and a Ph.D. in entomology at UCB. While employed as a California State public health biologist he began his long-standing studies of the biology of ticks and the ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne disease agents. In 1984, Dr. Lane joined the faculty of UCB as a medical entomologist, a position he has held until the present. The diseases he and his many co-workers have investigated include Colorado tick fever, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and particularly Lyme disease. Findings from these studies have elucidated the basic transmission cycles of and risk factors for spotted fever–group rickettsiae and Lyme disease spirochetes in the far western United States.

Bob is a Fellow of both the California Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a recipient of a UCB Biology Faculty Research Award and the C.W. Woodworth Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, and a member of the Council for the International Congresses of Entomology. Also, he has served as president of the Acarological Society of America, the International Northwestern Conference on Diseases in Nature Communicable to Man, the Northern California Parasitologists, and the Society for Vector Ecology, as well as the Chair of Section D (Medical/Veterinary Entomology), Entomological Society.

1st page of interview here: ... .2010.1502

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Re: An Interview with Robert S. Lane, Ph.D.

Postby rlstanley » Sun 4 Apr 2010 2:17

snippet from interview (posted here: ... ettii.html )

VBZD: During your career Borrelia burgdorferi became an important pathogen in the United States. You also worked on B. bissettii, which does not seem to cause disease in humans in this country. Can you tell us more about it?

RSL: Borrelia bissettii is a member of the Lyme disease spirochete complex. Marjorie Bissett and her co-worker Warren Hill first isolated the spirochete from a western black-legged tick from northwestern California. In 1998, Danie`le Postic at the Institut Pasteur and co-workers, including me, found that this isolate represented a new species of Lyme disease spirochete, and named it in honor of Dr. Bissett.

To date, 16 genospecies of Lyme disease spirochetes have been described and named worldwide, seven of which have been implicated as human pathogens, including B. bissettii in the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Three members of the complex commonly infect people, only one of which (B. burgdorferi) is a proven cause of Lyme disease in the United States.

We have been studying the relationship of B. bissettii to ixodid ticks and their hosts in the field and in the laboratory in parallel with our research on B. burgdorferi and related spirochetes. Many individuals contributed to this body of research, but the Ph.D. studies of my first graduate student, Richard Brown, laid the foundation for subsequent ecologic and molecular work. In northern California, it seems that B. bissettii circulates most intensively in certain chaparral (brushland) habitats in a transmission cycle involving dusky-footed wood rats, Peromyscus mice, and the predominantly non–human biting tick Ixodes spinipalpis. The western black-legged tick also is an efficient experimental vector of the spirochete.

Further, we, along with Dr. James Katzel and colleagues at the CSDHS (Drs. Paul Duffey, Will Probert, and co-workers), have been attempting to determine if B. bissettii sporadically infects people in California.We suspect that it does for multiple reasons: it is widely distributed in California; western black-legged ticks (I. pacificus) are infected naturally with it and this vector infests people more often than any other human-biter in the state; and it is a human pathogen in the two aforementioned European countries.

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