Episode 406: Pathobiome – an interview with Nikki Schultek


Welcome to another episode of the Tick Boot Camp Podcast, where today we’re thrilled to have Nikki Schultek as our special guest. Nikki, hailing from Wake Forest, North Carolina, shares her journey from being a vibrant individual to facing severe health challenges like chronic Lyme disease, and how it led her to become a pivotal figure in the fight against chronic diseases through her work with the Alzheimer’s Pathobiome Initiative and Intracell Research Group.

Nikki’s Background and East Coast Roots

  • Originally from the East Coast, Nikki’s accent gives away her roots despite her current residence in North Carolina with her family, including two boys, a golden doodle, and her supportive husband.

The Tick Encounter

  • Nikki recounts a critical moment of finding an engorged tick, mistaken for a watermelon seed, highlighting the importance of regular tick checks in her family’s life, especially given their pet’s history with ticks.

Educational Journey

  • Despite an initial interest in science, Nikki pursued a degree in marketing, French, and international business at Villanova University. She reflects on how her career in the pharmaceutical industry, including roles at Pfizer and Genentech, equipped her with a unique perspective on healthcare and disease management, particularly in neurology and stroke care.

Personal Health Crisis

  • Nikki shares a harrowing account of her health deteriorating in her early 30s, leading to severe respiratory issues, joint pain, and neurological symptoms. Her quest for answers led her to a life-changing Google search connecting her symptoms to chronic bacterial infections, including Lyme disease.

The Turning Point with Dr. Charles Stratton

  • The discovery of Dr. Charles Stratton’s work on chronic infections was a turning point for Nikki. She details how his guidance and a regimen of antibiotic therapy, overseen by her empathetic primary care doctor, began her road to recovery.

The Path to Research and Advocacy

  • Motivated by her experiences, Nikki delved into research, advocating for a diagnostic approach that looks beyond symptoms to the root causes of diseases like Alzheimer’s. She emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to bridge gaps in understanding complex diseases.

Alzheimer’s Pathobiome Initiative

Advocacy for Precision Medicine

  • The conversation highlights Nikki’s advocacy for precision medicine, emphasizing the need for a consensus in diagnosing and treating diseases rooted in chronic infections. She shares insights into the challenges and opportunities in this field, including the potential impact of COVID-19 on public and medical understanding of infectious diseases and their long-term effects.

Call to Action

  • Nikki encourages listeners to engage in their health advocacy and underscores the importance of collaborative research in tackling complex health issues. She calls for more research into the balance of microbes within our bodies and how it influences health and disease.

Closing Thoughts

  • Nikki’s story is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the potential for scientific innovation to transform lives. Her work with the Alzheimer’s Pathobiome Initiative stands at the forefront of a new approach to understanding and treating Alzheimer’s disease, rooted in the intricate relationship between our bodies and the microbial world.

Contact Information

For those interested in learning more about Nikki Schultek’s work or getting involved with the Alzheimer’s Pathobiome Initiative, visit AlzPI.org and IntracellResearchGroup.com.

Learn More

Discover more enlightening and inspiring conversations on the Tick Boot Camp Podcast. Dive into our extensive archive of interviews featuring experts, survivors, and advocates in the battle against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Each episode is designed to educate, empower, and connect our community, offering insights into prevention, treatment, and recovery. Join us on this journey to health and healing.