Most researchers are inspired to specialize in a particular field by a fascinating graduate course, an inspiring professor or a promising lab test. Dr. Vett Lloyd has a slightly more unique reason for devoting a large portion of her career to the study of Lyme disease: she was actually diagnosed with it.
A geneticist by training, with an MSc-equivalent degree from the University of Geneva and a doctorate from the University of British Columbia, Dr. Lloyd was in her garden one day when she was bitten by a tick. Lyme disease is spread by certain species of ticks through the transfer of a class of bacteria called Borrelia.
“I did exactly what you’re supposed to do [after a tick bite], but I still ended up experiencing some pretty bad symptoms and getting Lyme disease,” remembers Dr. Lloyd. “That was what really spurred my interest – biological understanding leads to better public knowledge, so I figured I would do a short summer project on ticks and Lyme disease and that would be that.”
Needless to say, …