Scientific Advisory Committee

The LDAA is proud to support the patient community through the establishment of our Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

The SAC consists of an international team of five accomplished scientists, each with decades of experience in their field. The SAC is committed to leading consistent and factual science-based communication to counter overwhelming media, government and scientific bias in Australia towards Lyme disease and associated illnesses.

The SAC have been meeting regularly since early 2020, and the LDAA looks forward to partnering with them for years to come.

The SAC’s role

The SAC’s role includes

  • input into the development of diagnostic, treatment and research policy, through translation of scientific evidence and identification of supporting scientific research
  • assistance in the development of scientific ‘fact check’ responses as required
  • provision of scientific advice to the LDAA Board on LDAA priority-led initiatives
  • the development of strong national and international collaborative links with relevant scientists, innovation allies, universities and scientific research centres

Meet the SAC members

Docent Leona Gilbert (Chair)
In addition to being the SAC’s Chairperson, Leona is a Docent of Cell and Molecular Biology and Senior Lecturer at Finland’s University of Jyväskylä.

A Canadian self-described “international citizen”, Adj Prof Gilbert is currently spearheading the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society’s (ILADS) scientific committee, and has previously served on other ILADS committees. She also participates in an adhoc committee focused on improving the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Disease codes in relation to Lyme disease. 

Additionally, Adj Prof Gilbert runs Te?ted Diagnostic Kits, the company that developed Tickplex, an antibody screening test for tick-borne infections used by well-known laboratories including Arminlabs. The Te?ted team also recently commercialised a test for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS.) 

Adj Prof Gilbert has been researching tick-borne diseases for over 15 years, motivated by a desire to “get answers” for sick loved ones who are still struggling to regain their health. Through her work, she has observed that “many countries are facing fundamentally similar problems” in achieving government recognition and support for patient communities. 

As Chair of the LDAA SAC, Adj Prof Gilbert is determined to include Australia in the international quest for recognition. 

You can listen to an interview by LDAA CEO Sharon Whiteman with Adj Prof Gilbert here.

Dr Richard Horowitz, MD (LDAA Patron)
Dr Horowitz has an illustrious history as one of the international leaders of the scientific Lyme community. 

One of the founding members of ILADS and former president-elect, Dr Horowitz has co-authored ILADS guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. He is also a former president of the International Lyme and Associated Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the education of health care professionals.

Dr Horowitz previously served as a member of the US Secretary of Health and Human Services’ Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, and is currently a member of the Health and Human Services’ Babesia and Tick-Borne Pathogens Subcommittee.

A board-certified internist, Dr Horowitz has treated more than 13 000 chronically ill patients over 30 years, including those who have travelled from Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to his New York practice. He is the Medical Director of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Centre.

Dr Horowitz’s expertise in relation to Lyme and associated diseases is in demand from international authorities. He has consulted for the governments of China, France, Belgium and the UK. He was also invited to address the Australian Senate inquiry into ‘Growing Evidence of an emerging tick-borne disease that causes a Lyme-like illness for many Australian patients.’

To make his medical expertise more accessible to patients and their treating doctors, Dr Horowitz wrote the book ‘Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease’ which became a NY Times Science Best Seller. He then followed up with National best seller ‘How Can I Get Better? An Action Plan For Treating Resistant Lyme and Chronic Disease.’

The LDAA is honoured to have Dr Horowitz as a patron as well as a valued SAC member.

You can listen to an interview by LDAA CEO Sharon Whiteman with Dr Horowitz here.

Prof Christian Perronne, Professor of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the University of Versailles-St Quentin (UVSQ), Paris-Saclay, France;

A profile on Prof Perrone is coming soon. In the meantime, you can listen to an interview by LDAA CEO Sharon Whiteman with Prof Perronne here.

Dr Lance Sanders, BSc, Hons, PhD, MASM
Dr Sanders was employed for 33 years with the Commonwealth Department of Health, first as a drug evaluator with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and later with the Department’s Office of Health Protection. For 20 years he was also a peer reviewer for the journal ‘Emerging Infectious Diseases’, which is published by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also provided peer reviews for the Department of Health’s publication, ‘Communicable Diseases Intelligence’.

As Senior Microbiologist in the Medical and Scientific Advisory Unit of the Office of Health Protection, Dr Sanders’ focus was as scientific advisor on emerging public health threats, including communicable diseases and agents with biological weapon potential. One of his earliest interests was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which at the time was dismissed by many in the health profession as a psychosomatic illness.

During his career, Dr Sanders also followed the research literature on Lyme disease, and after retirement made a submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into Lyme-like illness. He believes that the aetiology of Lyme-like illness has not been unequivocally identified. He has now offered his support to the LDAA.

Dr Sanders is concerned that too little research has been conducted into the aetiology of Lyme-like illness in Australia, and feels that more effort should be put into patient investigations during the acute phase of illness. He looks forward to sharing his expertise as a SAC member.

Dr John Duley, PhD  
Dr Duley completed a doctorate in Biochemistry at La Trobe University, Melbourne, then undertook eight years of postdoctoral research in Surgery at the Otago University Medical School, Christchurch, and in Biochemical Genetics at Griffith University, Brisbane.

Dr Duley then worked as a Clinical Scientist in Pathology for 16 years at Guy’s Hospital, London, and 13 years at Mater Hospital, Brisbane. He has also been an active researcher at the School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland, where he remains an Honorary Senior Fellow. During his career, Dr Duley became a leading expert in genetic diseases of energy metabolism, and a prolific researcher in pharmacogenetics. He has published over 200 research and conference papers.

Dr Duley gradually became aware of Lyme disease after his spouse developed chronic illness following a tick bite in England. At that time, the disease was recognised in the USA but was neither diagnosed or treated in the UK, where it was often mislabelled as ‘chronic fatigue.’ This  ‘misdiagnosis by geography’ (in which delayed diagnosis occurs because doctors don’t consider Lyme disease in areas not formally recognised as endemic) inspired Dr Duley to become a passionate advocate for patients suffering tick-borne diseases, and their loved ones.

He has also offered his support to healthcare professionals after a local doctor was forbidden to treat his wife by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

The LDAA look forward to using Dr Duley’s expertise and dedication to further the SAC’s initiatives.

Dr Richard SchloeffelOAM, MD, Specialist GP in chronic diseases;

A profile on Dr Schloeffel is coming soon. In the meantime, you can listen to an interview by LDAA CEO Sharon Whiteman with Dr Schloeffel here.

Dr Bernie Hudson, Head of Infectious Diseases, Royal North Shore Hospital; 

A profile is coming soon.

In memory of Dr Neil Spector

The LDAA was very fortunate to count Dr Neil Spector as a member of the SAC until his passing on 14 June 2020.

Dr Spector was a Sandra Coates Associate Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology), Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Member of the Duke Cancer Institute. He dedicated much of his career to cancer research, even while battling heart problems that resulted in a pacemaker and an internal defibrillator.

It was through his own research that Dr Spector discovered his chronic heart issues were related to Lyme disease. As in the case of Dr Duley’s wife, Dr Spector attributed his delayed diagnosis to  ‘misdiagnosis by geography’; his home state of Florida is not considered endemic for Lyme disease.

Following a heart transplant, Dr Spector wrote a book about his experiences, ‘Gone in a Heartbeat’, and became a highly sought speaker at scientific and medical conferences, and patient events. He and his team at Duke University were committed to ground-breaking Lyme research.

Dr Spector’s position as a health care professional, highly respected researcher and patient gave him unique insight into the many facets of Lyme. He will be sorely missed as a member of the international Lyme community campaigning for recognition, and as a man with an outstanding spirit.