Klempner, Mark S., M.D.

Medical School: Cornell University Medical College
Residency training: Massachusetts General Hospital
Fellowship training: National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Dr. Klempner’s research includes investigations into the basic molecular biology and pathogenic mechanisms of the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, patient-based clinical research on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, and novel molecular methods for detecting, identifying and quantifying microorganisms. Recently his laboratory has cloned and characterized the oligopeptide transport (permease) system in borrelia and is currently investigating how borrelia adapts its nutrient capture to the particular environments that the bacteria encounters (e.g., tick, mouse, human). Using in vitro and in vivo models, Dr. Klempner’s laboratory is also studying the role of matrix metalloproteinases in the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. Dr. Klempner’s patient-based studies focus in two general areas: vaccine protection and post-treatment chronic Lyme disease. Dr. Klempner is currently investigating approaches to novel strategies to interrupt transmission from the vector.

With regard to the clinical studies on patients with post-treatment chronic Lyme disease, the Klempner research team published the results of a treatment trial, which determined that 90 days of antibiotics were not better than placebo and that evidence of persisting borrelial infection could not be found. They have recently demonstrated a lack of HLA haplotype association with persisting symptoms indicating that an autoimmune cause for persistent symptoms is less likely.

As part of an NSBRI/NASA funded initiative, his laboratory has begun the development of spectroscopic “fingerprinting” which can detect, identify, quantify, and discriminate between bacterial and fungal species in environmental and biological specimens.

In collaboration with investigators at the Photonics Center, the Klempner lab is pursuing surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy to identify microorganisms. Through a recent grant from the NIH this work has been extended to investigate the possible fingerprinting of bioterrorism agents.

In October 2003, Dr. Klempner was named Principal Investigator on a grant from the National Institutes of Health to build a National Biocontainment Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center. This laboratory, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is being created to study and protect the American public against emerging infectious diseases and agents of bioterrorism. Construction of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories Institute is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2006 and recruitment of faculty for the Institute later that year.