Lyme disease cut short the life of Magnotta Winery co-founder Gabe Magnotta. Now the foundation created in his name has given $1.4 million to the University of Guelph to help prevent and fight the debilitating disease.

Borrelia burgdorferi/CDC
Borrelia burgdorferi/CDC

The grant will create the G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab, intended to improve diagnostic testing and treatment to prevent long-term suffering from Lyme disease.

Magnotta, known as a trailblazer in the Canadian wine industry, co-founded Magnotta Winery in 1990 with his wife, Rossana Magnotta. An avid outdoorsman, he died in 2009 after a seven-year battle with Lyme disease.

Rossana Magnotta created the non-profit G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases in 2012 in her late husband’s memory. “Over the years it has become a beacon of hope for the countless people who suffer from Lyme disease every day,” she said.

The foundation aims to establish Canada’s first research centre for vector-borne illnesses; the Lyme disease lab at U of G is the first step.

“I believe the University of Guelph, with its deep expertise in zoonotic diseases, its world-class researchers and its advanced technologies will deliver on the promise that drives our foundation donors to combat this terrible disease.”

U of G scientists hope to identify disease biomarkers and prognostic indicators for Lyme disease, as well as new treatment options. The lab will operate within the College of Biological Science (CBS).

Read more at University of Guelph