Dr. Leona Gilbert

Ph.D., CEO


Meet The Speaker

Dr. Leona Gilbert is a Docent of Cell and Molecular Biology and the CEO of Te?ted Oy, a university spinoff company that has a goal to get the patient tested so they can be treated and recover quicker.She has a doctorate in biotechnology and a very long experience in bio-innovation and bio-business. She has supervised numerous PhD, MSc and BSc students and hervarious peer-reviewed articles span turning research results into translational value with developing novel delivery vectors as well as diagnostic platforms. In addition, Gilbert’s publications also demonstrate the thorough investigation of how a common virus or bacterium can contribute to autoimmune diseases. Another highlight in these publications is the demonstration of a multi-disciplinary background and collaborative efforts between clinicians, microbiologists, diagnostic developers, nano-scientists, physicists and engineers. Gilbert’s research initiatives into complete diagnostic platforms and clinical profiling of patients for tick-borne and autoimmune diseases will allow a better understanding of how chronic conditions could be established with infectious pathogens.  

Session Description

The standard of care outlined in various national Lyme Disease recommendations throughout the globe has several flaws. To start, the germ hypothesis, which revolutionized medicine, asserts that various diseases are caused by distinct bacteria, but it does not consider how different germs work together to affect how a disease develops. Ticks can transmit more than simply Borrelia; this fact is not considered by the mandated STTT algorithm used to diagnose Lyme disease. Co-infections with other Borrelia species, Babesia, Rickettsia, and TBEV are just a few additional microorganisms found in ticks that can infect people. In this study, deidentified left over LD patients’ sera from Finland, Canada, Germany, USA, Australia and Mexico have been used to investigate if there is a need for screening multiple tick-borne pathogens. Interestingly, not only is it if important to screen for multiple tick-borne pathogens, but 85% of Lyme disease patients have co-infections, such as Babesia, Bartonella and Rickettsia. These patients in general also have immune responses to opportunistic infections such as EBV, B19V and Coxsackie virus. Surprisingly, although it is understood by many that Lyme Disease is not in Australia, we demonstrated that the proportion of positive IgM and IgG immune responses to Borrelia and other microbes is higher in Australian specimens than in Lyme reference samples. This study demonstrates the need for various microorganism testing is a universal one that should be addressed in mandatory guidelines. 


Learning points include that students will be able to appreciate: 

1. The need for better guidelines  

2. The need for better diagnostics 

3. Multiple microbe testing is not the exception but the must 


Garg, K., Jokiranta, S., Filén, S., and Gilbert L. 2021. Assessing the Need for Multiplex and Multifunctional Tick-Borne Disease Test in Routine Clinical Laboratory Samples from Lyme Disease and Febrile Patients with a History of a Tick Bite. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2021 Mar 17;6(1):38. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed6010038. 


Johnson, T. L., Graham, C. B., Maes, S. E., Hojgaard, A., Fleshman, A., Boegler, K. A., ... & Eisen, R. J. (2021). Co-occurrence and genetic diversity of tick-borne pathogens in nymphal Ixodes scapularis from 2 regions in Minnesota, USA. Journal of Medical Entomology, 58(1), 8-20. 


Khatchikian, C. E., Prusinski, M. A., Stone, M., Backenson, P. B., Wang, I. N., & Levy, M. Z. (2015). Recent and rapid population growth and range expansion of the Lyme disease tick vector, Ixodes scapularis, in North America. Evolutionary Applications, 8(11), 1042-1057. 

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