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Could ‘new’ antibiotic treatment prevent chronic Lyme disease?

Every year, tens of thousands of new Lyme disease patients find that their symptoms persist even after the standard course of antibiotic treatment.

Instead of being cured, they find their lives upturned by chronic Lyme, also called persistent or post-treatment Lyme. Symptoms include bone-deep fatigue, cognitive difficulties, arthritis, muscle and joint pain and intermittent fevers, chills and sweats that can go on for months or years.

While medical solutions have proved elusive, a researcher at Northeastern University says he has developed a treatment for Lyme disease that could prevent chronic Lyme from developing in the first place.

Kim Lewis, distinguished professor of biology and director of Northeastern’s Antimicrobial Discovery Center, says human trials of his discovery may begin as early as next year.

Read more from Northeastern Global News

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University


May 26, 2023

Using nature to fight rising seas

Picture Boston Harbor, a few years from now. The East Boston Greenway, a leafy urban trail, no longer stops a block from the pier, but extends into the ocean. A floating semi-circular trail arcs across the water; cyclists buzz and pedestrians stroll along it.

This is more than a buoyant park. The real innovation surrounds the path. On both sides, marsh grass splays out from hundreds of 6-foot-wide floating spheres, made of deadwood and coconut fiber. The bobbing green-brown globes are man-made, a new wetland riding atop the ocean.

This is the Emerald Tutu — a new coastal defense against rising seas, conceived by Julia Hopkins, a Northeastern University civil and environmental engineering professor, and fellow researchers. If it works, it could protect low-lying East Boston from future floods caused by climate change.

Read more from Northeastern Global News Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Julia Hopkins

May 25, 2023

What’s behind the toxic algae producing killer shellfish in Alaska?

Most people probably associate algal blooms with red tides in Florida that can lead to skin irritation, burning eyes and rashes in exposed individuals.

But, increasingly, Alaska’s Bering Strait also is home to toxic algal blooms—blooms that threaten the shellfish industry and cause paralytic shellfish poisoning that imperils the lives of seals, birds, fish, foraging pets and even humans.

Northeastern University co-op student Anushka Rajagopalan is part of a team of researchers in Don Anderson’s lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts who are studying the conditions behind the creation of Alaska’s harmful algae blooms, with an eye to contributing to mitigation efforts.

In particular, Rajagopalan is focused on Alexandrium catenella, a single-celled marine plankton that produces the neurotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Read more from Northeastern Global News

Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

May 23, 2023

Coming soon: A co-op experience living under the ocean

Imagine a co-op experience in which Northeastern University students live for weeks at a time in the world’s largest undersea science station, venturing into the surrounding Caribbean waters on daily scuba dives.

This type of experiential learning is one step closer to reality thanks to an agreement between Northeastern and the developer of the underwater station, Proteus Ocean Group.

Founded by Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Proteus plans to have a modular underwater habitat observatory and lab installed off the coast of Curacao, possibly by the end of 2025.

Marine scientists Brian Helmuth and Mark Patterson are Northeastern’s chief science advisors for the Proteus project. Both work at the Coastal Sustainability Institute of the Marine Science Center in Nahant, Massachusetts.

“This formalizes Northeastern as the go-to institution,” Helmuth says.

Read more from Northeastern Global News

Photo Courtesy of Proteus Ocean Group

May 19, 2023

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