G. Magnotta Research Lab at the University of Guelph – Melanie Wills, Research Associate
The University of Guelph in Ontario received a $1.4 million dollar grant from the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases, named for Magnotta Winery co-founder Gabe Magnotta. This lab is dedicated to improving testing and treatment for Lyme disease.
Magnotta died in 2009 from complications of Lyme disease. His wife and business partner Rossana Magnotta created the non-profit foundation in 2012.
“Lyme disease is increasingly recognized as a substantial threat across the country, and there is a profound need for high-quality science that can improve the lives of afflicted Canadians,” said Melanie Wills, a research associate in the school’s molecular and cellular biology department, who will head the new lab.
Telling quote from Melanie Wills in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology:
“I could not turn my back on the conflicting research or on the suffering I was witnessing,” she said.
The new lab will place the patient “as a key partner in the center of an interdisciplinary study,” she said.
The non-profit founder, Rossana Magnotta, stated:
“We need a new diagnostic test,” Magnotta added. “The current one misses too many people, and it is not broad enough to pick up the many strains of Borrelia. The Canadian tests are not accurate, and the chances of getting a false negative are very high. You will be told you don’t have Lyme, but you will get sicker and sicker everyday, and you won’t know why.”
“We need the truth,” she added. “We need to understand the true rate of Lyme disease, and the true rate of misdiagnosis.”
Her husband not only fought Lyme disease, but also:
“a health care system that seemed unwilling to accept and understand what my husband was going through.”