Creative Research Medal 2000
Frank Gherardini has discovered that the bacterium that causes syphilis and the bacterium that causes Lyme disease do not require iron to survive in their human host as previously believed. Instead, he found that these pathogenic bacteria require manganese for survival and for gene expression, and that manganese is prevalent in the central nervous system where these pathogens reside. These findings are important because of the central role iron plays in the growth and regulation of bacterial pathogenicity and the unique mechanism by which these bacteria have circumvented this limitation.
Dr. Gherardini joined the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in 2000.