Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs -- Tick-Borne Disease Research Program -- Career Development Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY19 TBDRP Career Development Award supports independent, early-career investigators in their efforts to conduct impactful research with the mentorship of an experienced tick-borne diseases researcher (i.e., the Mentor), thus providing an opportunity to obtain the funding, guidance, and experience necessary for productive, independent careers at the forefront of tick-borne diseases research. This award supports impactful research projects with an emphasis on discovery that may be translational in nature, but are not clinical trials. Under this award mechanism, the early-career investigator is considered the Principal Investigator (PI), and the application should focus on the PI’s research and career development. It should be clear that the proposed research is intellectually designed by the PI and not a product of the Mentor. Preliminary data are not required. However, logical reasoning and a sound scientific rationale for the proposed research must be demonstrated.


• Pre-Application Submission Deadline: May 22, 2019

• Application Submission Deadline: August 22, 2019

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

To meet the intent of the award mechanism, applications submitted to the FY19 TBDRP must address at least one of the following specific Focus Areas in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases with emphasis on reducing public health burden. Applications focused on tick-borne diseases prevalent in the US and/or involving understudied patient populations are encouraged, but not required.

  • Diagnosis ○ Accurate diagnostics and biomarkers for Lyme disease and co-infections and/or other tick-borne diseases ○ Diagnostic biomarkers for Lyme disease that distinguish between active infection and previous exposure, and/or monitor response to treatment
  • Pathogenesis ○ Understanding pathogenic mechanisms, including immune protection, for Lyme disease, other tick-borne diseases, and/or co-infections ○ Understanding the complex biology of Lyme borrelia in the host (beyond in vitro studies), including its survival, evasion of the host immune system, and subversion of the effectiveness of antibiotics ○ Understanding underlying mechanisms of persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease
  • Treatment ○ Antibiotic combinations and/or therapeutic options for treating acute and persistent illness
  • Prevention ○ Safe and effective human vaccines for tick-borne diseases ○ Identification, validation, and/or improvement of tick-targeted prevention and control interventions ○ Understanding the ecology of understudied tick-borne disease vectors and reservoirs with emphasis on how it relates to human risk

Eligibility Requirements

Principal Investigator ○ The PI must be an early-career researcher or physician scientist within 10 years of completion of his/her terminal degree at the time of application submission deadline (excluding time spent in residency or on family medical leave) and exhibit a strong desire to pursue a career in tick-borne diseases research. Time spent as a postdoctoral fellow is not excluded. ○ Institutional commitment to the PI’s independent career should be demonstrated, including a confirmation of the laboratory space.

Mentor ○ The Mentor must hold a position at or above the level of an Associate Professor (or equivalent). ○ The Mentor must be an experienced researcher as demonstrated by a proven record of funding and publications in tick-borne diseases research. The Mentor must demonstrate a commitment to developing the PI’s career in tick-borne diseases research. 



Amount Description

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY19 TBDRP Career Development Award will not exceed $250,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

May 22, 2019