Dr. Alan B. MacDonald (born 1948)



Cutting-edge research into persistent Borrelia infection


Curriculum Vitae – Alan B. MacDonald

Date of Birth:

April 12, 1948, Boston, Massachusetts



Tufts University, B.S. (Chemistry, Neurophysiology) Magna Cum Laude, 1970


College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University in the City of New York, N.Y.

Internship, Internal Medicine, Rush Presbyterian Medical Center Chicago, Illinois 1974-75

Resident Pathology, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, (Anatomic Pathology) 1975-76

Resident and Chief Resident, Pathology, New York University and Bellevue Medical Center 1976-1979

Board Certification and Recertification:

American Board of Pathology, Diplomate, Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, 1979, 2006

Fellow, College of American Pathologists, 1979 – present

Fellow, American Society for Clinical Pathology, 1979 – present

Member, U.S. Canadian Association of Pathologists, 1982-present


MacDonald, A. B. “Borrelia burgdorferi tissue morphologies and imaging methodologies.” European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases 32, no. 8 (2013): 1077-1082.

No Evidence for Contamination of Borrelia Blood Cultures: A review of Facts, Alan B. MacDonald, J. Clin. Microbiol., May 2014; 52:5 1803; doi:10.1128/JCM.02275-13

Characterization of biofilm formation by Borrelia burgdorferi in vitro, Sapi E, Bastian SL, Mpoy CM, Scott S, Rattelle A, MacDonald A, et al. PLOS ONE, 2012, 7(10): e48277. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048277.\E

Biofilms of Borrelia burgdorferi in Chronic Cutaneous Borreliosis. Authors’ reply. Sapi E, MacDonald Alan B., Eisendle K., M Hansgeorg M., Zelger B. Am J Clin Pathol. 2008 129. p.988-989.

In situ DNA hybridization study of granulovacuolar degeneration in human autopsy hippocampal neurons for Flagellin B transcriptomes of Borrelia burgdorferi Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 2 (3) Supplement, Page S207, July 2006.

Cystic borrelia in Alzheimer’s disease and in non-dementia neuroborreliosis. Alan B. MacDonald. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 2 (3), Supplement , Page S433, July 2006

Calcifying panniculitis with renal failure: a new management approach. Elamin EM, McDonald AB. Dermatology. 1996;192(2):156-9.

Clinical implications of delayed growth of the Lyme borreliosis spirochete, Borrelia Burgdorferi (.pdf) Alan B. MacDonald, Bernard W. Berger, and Torn G. Schwan. Acta. Tropica, 48(1991) 89-94



Gestational Lyme borreliosis. Implications for the fetus. Alan B. MacDonald. Rheum. Dis. Clin. North Am. 1989 Nov;15(4):657-77.

Interstitial cystitis and Borrelia burgdorferi. Schwan TG, MacDonald AB. Ann Intern Med. 1989 Sep 15;111(6):537.

Temporal arteritis associated with Borrelia infection. A case report. Pizzarello LD, MacDonald AB, Semlear R, DiLeo F, Berger B. J Clin Neuroophthalmol.. 1989 Mar;9(1):3-6.

Concurrent Neocortical Borreliosis and Alzheimer’s Disease: Demonstration of a Spirochetal Cyst Form (.pdf) Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 539, Lyme Disease and Related Disorders pages 468–470, August 1988.

Ambiguous serologies in active Lyme borreliosis. A. B. MacDonald. Journal of clinical neuro-ophthalmology. 1988, 8(2):79-80.

Use of an autologous antigen in the serologic testing of patients with erythema migrans of Lyme disease. Berger BW, MacDonald AB, Benach JL. J Am Acad.Dermatol.. 1988 Jun;18(6):1243-6.

Lyme disease. A neuro-ophthalmologic view. A. B. Macdonald. J Clin Neuroophthalmol. 1987 Dec;7(4):185-90.

Giant cell arteritis and Borrelia infection. A. B. Macdonald. J Clin Neuroophthalmol. 1987 Sep;7(3):180-1.

Stillbirth following maternal Lyme disease. MacDonald AB, Benach JL, Burgdorfer W. NY State J Med. 1987 Nov;87(11):615-6.

Concurrent neocortical borreliosis and Alzheimer’s disease (.pdf)- A. B. Macdonald and J. M. Miranda. Human Pathology 1987 Jul;18(7):759-61.

Human fetal borreliosis, toxemia of pregnancy, and fetal death. A. B. Macdonald. Zentralbl Bakteriol Mikrobio. Hyg. A. 1986 Dec;263(1-2):189-200.

Serological evidence for simultaneous occurrences of Lyme disease and babesiosis. Benach JL, Coleman JL, Habicht GS, MacDonald A, Grunwaldt E, Giron JA. J. Infect. Dis., 1985 Sep;152(3):473-7.

A case of crystal formation in bone marrow. Carter KJ, Jones JD, Mandel NS, Mandel GS, MacDonald AB. Clin Chem. 1984 Jul;30(7):1267-8.

Book Chapter:

Spirochatenpathologie der Lyme – Borreliose, Alan B. MacDonald, pp. 127-146 in “Einheimische ZeckenBorreliose (Lyme Krankheit) bei Mensch Und Tier”, Horst, H. (Editor) Citation: Horst, Hans, ed. Einheimische Zeckenborreliose (Lyme-Krankheit) bei Mensch und Tier. Perimed-Fachbuch-Verlag-Ges., 1991.

Practice Experience:

Thirty-five years of community hospital anatomic and clinical pathology practice.


Borrelia biology and pathobiology :

    • All areas in the realm of anatomic and clinical pathology, histologic diagnosis of spirochetes in tissue (animals, controls, infected cases submitted blindly for testing, immunohistochemistry applied to paraffin sections (Monoclonal antibodies for borrelia burgdorferi);


    • Design of immunodiagnosis methodologies for Borrelia antibodies in blood;

    • Dark field microscopy of Borrelia in cerebrospinal fluid and blood;

    • Culture and primary isolation of wild type Borrelia strains from human autopsy tissues, fetal autopsies, human adult blood, and human skin biopsies of Erythema migrans punch biopsies;

    • Polymerase Chain Reaction of triturated human tissue for detection of borrelia DNA;

    • Design of DNA probes for detection of Borrelia in human tissue using FISH method;

    • Design of Molecular Beacons for detection of DNA of Borrelia species (of both USA and European strains of borrelia) in human tissue, and Borrelia miyamotoi in human tissues and human body fluids;

    • First Isolation of borrelia burgdorferi in culture from autopsy fetal brain (Miscarriage);

    • First isolation of borrelia from frozen autopsy Alzheimer’s brain;

    • First description of Cystic Borrelia burgdorferi in world’s literature;

    • First description of granular forms of Borrelia burgdorferi in human tissue (Alzheimer’s disease);

    • First proof, by FISH study, that brain Granulovacuolar Degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease is due to granular forms of Borrelia which have penetrated human neurons;

    • First direct identification of Borrelia spirochetes inside the cytoplasm of human neuronal cells in Alzheimer’s disease autopsy brain;

    • First description of Spheroplast forms of Borrelia burgdorferi in human tissue and in culture;



    • First description of transfection of human DNA by Borrelia burgdorferi DNA via horizontal DNA transfer;

    • First to prove that amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease all contain biofilms of Borrelia dwelling inside of the topography of the plaques;

    • First description of Borrelia Temporal arteritis with blindness (1989);

    • First description of liposomal form of Borrelia (blebs) by electron microscopy, 1988;

    • First description of electron microscopy identification of Borrelia in blood of Multiple Sclerosis patient;

    • First serostudy of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients from Long Island, New York area for antibodies to Borrelia species, with identification of 20% seropositive rate for Borrelia infection in ALS patients as compared with background rate of seropositive patients 8.2% in year 1987-1988;

    • Elucidation of the “negative phase” in Borreliosis as a state in which infective Borrelia in minute granular form reconstitute spiral borrelia forms in in vitro cultures;

    • Suggestion that autoimmune phenomenon in Borreliosis patients may represent proteins of Borrelia deposited on human cytoplasmic membranes consequent to Borrelia transfection of human DNA and resultant production of Borrelia proteins from the infected/transfected human DNA;

    • Identification of 100 cases of Babesia microti infection in humans with Borreliosis with all categories of disease including death, transplacental transfer of infection in utero to the fetus, asymptomatic Babesia carrier state;

    • Proof of Babesiosis with hamster inoculation method with seronegative cases;

      • Discovery of Babesia microti species seronegative Babesia infections in humans in 1986-1990. (in retrospect probable examples of Duncani species human babesiosis from East coast, USA tick vectored infections);



      • First to call to action in New York Times (year 1988) to screen blood donors for possible asymptomatic babesiosis to prevent transfusion transmitted babesiosis.

Additional commentary on research projects completed:

1985 to Present:

The investigation of autopsy Alzheimer’s brain tissues for evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia miyamotoi.

This approach was inspired by the model of Dr Hideyo Noguchi, who proved that Treponema pallidum infection in its tertiary phase was the cause of General Paresis.

Like syphilis, Lyme Borreliosis is recognized as having primary, secondary and tertiary manifestations. In 1985 I requested frozen Alzheimer’s disease brains from Dr. George Glenner who maintained a research Brain Bank at the University of California, San Diego.

I received four frozen whole brains, after my credentials to undertake research studies were approved by Dr Glenner and by the Institutional Review Board of the Medical staff of Southampton Hospital, Southampton, N.Y. I had acquired experience in the primary isolation of Borrelia burgdorferi from human tissue in studies of the Erythema migrans lesion.

I was in possession of positive and negative control material from earlier studies which I completed on Gestational Lyme Borreliosis. I commenced culture of 0.5cm cubes of flame-sterilized thawed Alzheimer hippocampus and observed the cultures for growth of Borrelia spirochetes.

I submitted a manuscript to the Journal of the American Medical Association, which was entitled “Borrelia in the brains of patients dying with Alzheimer’s disease”. The Editors were concerned that the words “Alzheimer’s disease” in the title would create problems among the readership and returned the manuscript for title revision, agreeing to publish my report of positive culture results as a “letter to the editor”, with the words “Borrelia in the Brains of Patients Dying with Dementia”.

This substitution to placate the Editor also meant that the phrase “Alzheimer’s disease” was removed from the title and the word “Dementia” substituted.(JAMA, 1986, 256:2195-6) .

The classification of the cultured spirochetes from 2 patient autopsy hippocampus specimens was substantiated by positive immunoreactivity with Murine monoclonal antibodies H5332, and H9724, which were on hand in the laboratory courtesy of the generosity of Dr. Alan G. Barbour, at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton Montana.

Subsequent studies of additional cases of Alzheimer’s disease yielded more culture positive cases.

In 1987, the editors of the first-line academic pathology journal Human Pathology accepted a case report entitled “Concurrent Neocortical Borreliosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. This was the first publication which allowed the use of the words “Alzheimer’s” and “Borreliosis” in the title.

Subsequent work revealed a culture-positive case of Alzheimer’s disease, from Dr. Glenner’s Brain Bank, which disclosed a “cystic” form of Borrelia burgdorferi in tissue section, and immunoreactive Borrelia cysts with Dr. Barbour’s gift of murine monoclonal antibody H9724 which recognizes the flagellin epitopes of Borrelia burgdorferi and related relapsing fever borrelia.



This report was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1988, 539: 468-70. I began work on molecular detection methods for the Borrelia burgdorferi genomic elements in Alzheimer’s disease tissues – initially with PCR detection of the Flagellin B transcriptome, and subsequently with Fluorescein-labeled specific DNA probes for in situ DNA hybridization {FISH method}.

In 1993, Dr Judith Miklossy published her first paper on Alzheimer’s disease and neuroborreliosis. Dr Miklossy has continued to produce multiple landmark manuscripts on Alzheimer’s neuroborreliosis, the most recent in 2011 reviewing the evidence from the perspective of Koch and Hill’s hypotheses.

My present research is the utilization of Molecular Beacons for in situ DNA hybridization to detect Borrelia transcriptomes in Alzheimer’s disease autopsy brain tissues. Such tools have produced image evidence via in situ DNA hybridization with both Molecular Beacons and conventional FISH reagents, that the Alzheimer plaques bind and hybridize with DNA probes which are uniquely specific for Borrelia DNA [Fla B ORF BBO 147], and Borrelia miyamotoi DNA .

The Alzheimer plaques and the GVB bodies hybridize with these FISH DNA probes, while the human autopsy brain tissue between the plaques and the GVB bodies produces no hybridization signals.

Based on these observations, it is my view that the Alzheimer plaques in Neuroborreliosis-related AD cases are Biofilm communities, consisting of Granular Borrelia, Cystic Borrelia, Cell wall-deficient Borrelia and peripheral rim-like areas of spiral borrelia.

Water channels are features of biofilms. Empty spaces within Alzheimer plaques also are consistent with water channels of borrelia biofilms. The possibility of mixed-species biofilms in AD plaques has merit, and multi-species infections are an open possibility in Neuroborreliosis-related AD cases.

I continue my work on primary isolation of Borrelia from Alzheimer’s brain tissue. I believe that Molecular Beacons are the ultimate FISH DNA/RNA probes, because Molecular Beacons are endowed with the property of rejecting all potential hybridization sites in tissue if even a single base mismatch exists between the Molecular Beacon DNA probe and any potential hybridization tissue site.

FISH DNA/RNA hybridization is unique in allowing back correlation of areas showing hybridization with the DNA probes with tissue sites also showing either AD plaques or GVB foci by conventional methods.

Video Lectures on Internet (web links):

Youtube Lectures by Dr. Alan B. MacDonald MD (Free)

Introduction: Less Commonly Discussed Facts About Lyme Borreliosis:

Biology of Lyme Disease (part 1 of 3)

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8tESJVvM88

Biology of Lyme Disease (part 2 of 3)

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RATCS-3v9Q

Biology of Lyme Disease (part 3 of 3 )

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEjNMlNM3l8

Advanced Topics in Lyme/Borreliosis Lectures:

Lyme Borreliosis Autopsy published Cases in the Literature



Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YlUhdiA7cM

Borreliosis complex Autopsy Deaths and Chronic Morbidities

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHA8VKq78BM

Lyme Borreliosis, Cardiac Deaths, Autopsies, and Chronic Morbidities

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpIZhArW-Vo

Lyme Borreliosis spirochetes detected in Autopsy Alzheimer Brain

Link; www.youtube.com/watch?v=44xL0z8I5X8

Lyme Borreliosis Acute and Chronic Disease in the United Kingdom: Inconvenient Truths

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6-wzKk8Utg

Lyme Borreliosis: Acute and chronic: Part 2 –United Kingdom

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZXL3UUa4mY

Dr. Alan MacDonald on Human Borrelia Deaths at Norvect Conference 2014

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8zVCeCUie8

Non-Spiral forms of Borrelia

Non-Spiral Borrelia Part I: explanation of Shape Shifting

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqKaM_J7KDI

Part II : Cystic Borrelia including Round body Borrelia Brain diseases Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ojq_2-HlNg

Non-Spiral forms of Borrelia

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjbfeVeAHps

Borrelia Infections in Deep Soft tissues and Chronic Infections

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YlUhdiA7cM

Borrelia Miyamotoi Biofilms cause Alzheimer Plaques

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_drEJgxQp7M

Alzheimer Plaques are Biofilm Communities of Borrelia

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLcDp2kdQF0

Lyme Biofilm

Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4uNDWdChM8

Atomic Force Microscopy Composite Scan of Borrelia burgdorferi Biofilm

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G21kast94Qo



(List complete as of Sept 8, 2015)

Grand Rounds presentations and invited lectures:

Autopsy Studies in Human Fetal Death due to Intrauterine Lyme borreliosis, Second International Meeting, Lyme disease, Vienna, Austria

Southampton Hospital, Southampton, New York, Convener, Full Day Symposium on Lyme Disease – Case presentations in all medical specialties

Babesiosis, Harvard Medical School, Department of Public Health, Dr. Gustave Dammin, 1985

Lyme disease in human pregnancy, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Neuroborreliosis, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Psychiatry

Lyme Borreliosis and Alzheimer’s Disease, Columbia University/ Lyme Disease Association, National Scientific Meeting, Philadelphia, Penn.

International Dermatology and Molecular Dermatopathology of Lyme Borreliosis, International Lyme Disease and Associated Disorders Association, National Scientific Meeting.

Lyme Disease – Ocular Manifestations, University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology

A Review of Neurological Lyme Borreliosis, Society for Neuro-opthalmology, Charlotte, Virginia

Biofilms of Borrelia burgdorferi and Clinical Application for Chronic Borreliosis, University of New Haven, West Haven, Conn.

Lyme Neuroborreliosis and Alzheimer’s Disease, University of New Haven, West Haven, Conn.

Honorary Awards:

University of New Haven, Department of Biology,

Lifetime Achievement Award in Lyme Borreliosis Research

International Lyme Disease and Associated Diseases Society,

Pioneer in Lyme Disease Award

Commentaries on tick-borne diseases:

Multiple posts on Lyme Net Europe Website from 2012- present


Websites , Alan B. MacDonald, M.D.



Research Foundation:

President, Dr. Paul H Duray Research Fellowship Endowment, Inc (Florida)



The Duray Foundation is a not for profit medical research charity whose mission is to promote DNA probe research with the tools of molecular pathology to discover and to validate Borrelia strains as the etiologic agents of Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurodegerative diseases in the human host worldwide.

The Duray Foundation also provides training for physicians and for research scientists in the methods of Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization (FISH method) using Molecular Beacon DNA Probes which have been validated for the study of tick-borne disease co-infections in the Lyme borreliosis Complex of Diseases.