Monica E. Embers, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Director of Vector-Borne Disease Research
(985) 871-6607
18703 Three Rivers Road Covington, Louisiana 70433
Monica Embers

Education & Affiliations

B.S., Biology, Chemistry McPherson College
PhD, Microbiology and Immunology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
Postdoctoral, Bacteriology, Tulane National Primate Research Center


The first research goal is to examine the efficacy of antibiotic treatment during disseminated B. burgdorferi infection using xenodiagnosis in the nonhuman primate model of Lyme disease. Evaluation of the phenotype of spirochetes that survive in the presence of doxycycline is a major priority of this project. Given our current understanding that antibiotic monotherapy can fail to cure the infection, we are utilizing our well-established animal models to test new therapeutic strategies. In addition, a project which may have impact both diagnosis and treatment is one in which we aim to identify factors in tick saliva responsible for chemoattraction of B. burgdorferi. Such molecules could be used to draw the spirochetes out of hiding in infected individuals. A third interest is in the development of a quantitative multi-antigen test that expands detection limits and helps to distinguish persistent infection from clinical cure. Natural infection of animals, including nonhuman primates, with tick-borne pathogens is the hallmark of my research program.

My research program regarding Borrelia burgdorferi and Lyme disease is designed around three central themes: (1) antibiotic efficacy against Lyme disease; (2) novel therapeutic strategies to eradicate the infection; and (3) immunodiagnosis for B. burgdorferi infection and cure.


Research Programs
  • Antibiotic efficacy against Lyme disease
  • Novel therapeutic strategies to eradicate the Lyme disease spirochete
  • Immunodiagnosis for B. burgdorferi infection and cure
  • Immune-modulation by B. burgdorferi
  • Microbial and inflammatory etiology of neurodegenerative disease
  • Role of Bartonella in tick-borne disease, immune evasion and modulation