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Maria D Esteve-Gassent

Assistant Professor


Phone: (979) 845-1117

Office: VMA 316, 321A, 321B, 321D and 382 VIDI

Mailstop: 4467

Department: VTPB

Photo of Esteve-Gassent, Maria


Brazil: Interest in the presence of pathogenic Borrelia species in sinantropic bats in Paraná, Brazil. Our research team will be acquiring blood and tissue samples from bats as well as ecto-parasites feeding on those bats to analyze the presence of pathogenic Borrelia. Our collaborators in Brazil have found Borrelia spp in bats blood and they are interested in determine whether those Borrelia species are pathogenic for humans and life stock, due to the high density of bats in that particular area, and the impact they can have on human and veterinary health.

Mexico: Study of Lyme disease in Center and Northern Mexico. During the Mid 1990’s there was a number of Lyme disease cases diagnosed in Central Mexico, and the numbers have been increasing considerably during the past few years. Our collaborators are scientist and physicians at the Pediatric Hospital in the Centro Médico Nacioal SXXI (IMSS) The objectives of this project are to analyze the expression of selected Borrelia-virulence markers associated with European and US borreliosis in tissues of potential reservoirs and vectors (ticks), and to determine regions of high-risk for Lyme disease in Mexico. The rationale is: we have documented B. burgdorferi infection in Mexican patients with clinical manifestations similar to those reported in both, US and Europe (Mexico diagnostic reference laboratory, unpublished).

Spain: Study of Membrane proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Our collaborator is at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the University of Valencia. Their expertise is in the study of hydrophobic domains of proteins and the study of their topology when associated to membranes.

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  • Ph.D. Microbiology, University of Valencia, Spain 2003
  • European Ph.D., University of Valencia, Spain 2003
  • University of Valencia, Diploma of Advanced Studies (DEA) 2002
  • B.S. / M.S Biology, University of Valencia, Spain 1998

Scholarly Interests

My Research Team is interested in understanding how Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease can spread from the site of the tick bite to other organs such as joints and heart. To do these studies we are incorporating the tick model together with the mouse model of Lyme disease in our approaches. In addition, our team is interested in understanding the Lyme disease ecology in non-endemic areas, to determine risk factors for both humans and companion animals in these states. To attain these goals, we are part of an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, entomologists, veterinarians, molecular biologists, epidemiologists and more. Through this team we have developed a number of ecology projects currently funded by NIH and USDA to better understand not only tick populations but also their interactions with different populations of pathogens. Through that process we have worked together with the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in the development of molecular diagnostic tools to improve the detection and prompt treatment of affected animals.


Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever in Dogs.
Piccione J, Levine GJ, Duff CA, Kuhlman GM, Scott KD, Esteve-Gassent MD
J Vet Intern Med. 2016 30(4):1222-1228.
Lyme Disease in Clinically Sick Dogs in Southern US: Assessing Geographical and Seasonal distribution during year 2012 – 2011 in Texas
McGregor E, Bogges MM, Grover A, Rodgers S, Lupiani B, Esteve-Gassent MD
Jacobs Journal of Veterinary Sciences and Research. 2016 2(1):30.
Seroprevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies in white-tailed deer from Texas.
Adetunji SA, Krecek RC, Castellanos G, Morrill JC, Blue-McLendon A, Cook WE, Esteve-Gassent MD
Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2016 5(2):168-174.
Esteve-Gassent MD, Castro-Arellano I, Feria-Arroyo TP, Patino R, Li AY, Medina RF, de León AA, Rodríguez-Vivas RI.
Arch Insect Biochem Physiol.. 2016 92(1):38-64.
Prevalencia de Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato en roedores sinantrópicos de dos comunidades rurles de Yucatán, Mexico
Solís-Hernandez A, Rodríguez-Vivas RI, Esteve-Gassent MD, Villegas-Pérez SL.
Biomédica.. 2016 36:109-117.
Ticks collected from humans, domestic animals, and wildlife in Yucatan, Mexico.
Rodríguez-Vivas RI, Apanaskevich DA, Ojeda-Chi MM, Trinidad-Martínez I, Reyes-Novelo E, Esteve-Gassent MD, Pérez de León AA
Vet Parasitol. 2016 215:106-113.
Exploratory spatial analysis of Lyme disease in Texas –what can we learn from the reported cases?
Barbara Szonyi, Indumathi Srinath, Maria D. Esteve-Gassent, Blanca Lupiani, Renata Ivanek
BMC Public Health. 2015 15:924.
Absence of sodA increases oxidation of key metabolic determinants in Borrelia burgdorferi.
Maria D. Esteve-Gassent, Trevor C. Smith, Christina M. Small, Derek P. Thomas, and Janakiram Seshu
PLoS ONE. 2015
Ixodes affinis (Acari: Ixodidae) in dogs from rural communities of Yucatan, Mexico: frequency, abundance and associated factors.
Solís-Hernández A, Rodriguez-Vivas RI, Pérez-Barrera M, Esteve-Gassent MD, Apanaskevich D
Veterinaria Mexico OA. 2015 2(3):1-9.
Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected ticks from wildlife hosts, a response to Norris et al.
Maria D. Esteve-Gassent, Abha Grover, Teresa P. Feria-Arroyo, Ivan Castro-Arellano, Raul F. Medina, Guadalupe Gordillo-Pérez, Adalberto A. Pérez de León
Parasites and Vectors. 2015 doi:10.1186/s13071-015-0739-z..
Pathogenic landscape of transboundary zoonotic diseases in the Mexico–US border along the Rio Grande
Esteve-Gassent MD, Pérez de León AA, Romero-Salas D, Feria-Arroyo TP, Patino R, Castro-Arellano I, Gordillo-Pérez G, Auclair A, Goolsby J, Rodriguez-Vivas RI and Estrada-Franco JG
Frontiers Public Health . 2014
Implications of climate change on the distribution of the tick vector Ixodes scapularis and risk for Lyme disease in the Texas-Mexico transboundary region.
Feria-Arroyo TP, Castro-Arellano I, Gordillo-Perez G, Cavazos AL, Vargas-Sandoval M, Grover A, Torres J, Medina RF, de León AA, Esteve-Gassent MD
Parasit Vectors. 2014 7(1):199.
Immunization with a Borrelia burgdorferi BB0172-derived peptide protects mice against lyme disease.
Small CM, Ajithdoss DK, Rodrigues Hoffmann A, Mwangi W, Esteve-Gassent MD
PLoS One. 2014 9(2).
BB0172, a Borrelia burgdorferi outer membrane protein that binds integrin α3β1.
Wood E, Tamborero S, Mingarro I, Esteve-Gassent MD
J Bacteriol. 2013 195(15):3320-30.
Oligopeptide permease A5 modulates vertebrate host-specific adaptation of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Raju BV, Esteve-Gassent MD, Karna SL, Miller CL, Van Laar TA, Seshu J
Infect Immun. 2011 79(8):3407-20.
CsrA modulates levels of lipoproteins and key regulators of gene expression critical for pathogenic mechanisms of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Karna SL, Sanjuan E, Esteve-Gassent MD, Miller CL, Maruskova M, Seshu J
Infect Immun. 2011 79(2):732-44.
Overexpression of CsrA (BB0184) alters the morphology and antigen profiles of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Sanjuan E, Esteve-Gassent MD, Maruskova M, Seshu J
Infect Immun. 2009 77(11):5149-62.
sodA is essential for virulence of Borrelia burgdorferi in the murine model of Lyme disease.
Esteve-Gassent MD, Elliott NL, Seshu J
Mol Microbiol. 2009 71(3):594-612.
Role of the BBA64 locus of Borrelia burgdorferi in early stages of infectivity in a murine model of Lyme disease.
Maruskova M, Esteve-Gassent MD, Sexton VL, Seshu J
Infect Immun. 2008 76(1):391-402.
The eel immune system: present knowledge and the need for research.
Nielsen ME, Esteve-Gassent MD
J Fish Dis. 2006 29(2):65-78.
Immunogenic antigens of the eel pathogen Vibrio vulnificus serovar E.
Esteve-Gassent MD, Amaro C
Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2004 17(3):277-91.
Field testing of a vaccine against eel diseases caused by Vibrio vulnificus.
Fouz B, Esteve-Gassent MD, Barrera R, Larsen JL, Nielsen ME, Amaro C
Dis Aquat Organ. 2001 45(3):183-9.

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