Dr Michael Lewis


Assistant Professor

Rm 390

Keppel Street
United Kingdom


Michael is a parasitologist with a focus on neglected diseases caused by protozoan parasites, principally Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis). He obtained a BSc in Genetics in 2002 and an MSc in Medical Molecular Microbiology in 2004, both from the University of Nottingham. At LSHTM he completed his PhD in 2008 on the genetics and evolution of Trypanosoma cruzi followed by post-doctoral work developing bioluminescence in vivo imaging systems for T. cruzi. In 2014, he was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship and moved to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA to work on the pathogenesis of visceral leishmaniasis. Since returning to LSHTM in 2016, he continued to study host-parasite interactions and chronic disease pathogenesis, and set up his own lab group in 2018 with a MRC New Investigator Research Grant. 


Department of Infection Biology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


My teaching roles include:

  • Module organiser for M3160 Molecular Research in Infectious Diseases
  • Module organiser for IDM203 Parasitology (Distance Learning)
  • Lectures, small group teaching and practical sessions on various modules including  M3134 Advanced Immunology, M3160 Molecular Research in Infectious Diseases and M3169 Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
  • Summer lab project supervisor, usually for MSc Medical Parasitology, other courses considered.
  • Personal tutor on MSc Medical Parasitology, MSc Control of Infectious Diseases


Three of the most important neglected infectious diseases, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis are caused by parasites from the protozoan order Trypanosomatida: Trypanosoma brucei, T. cruzi and Leishmania sp. respectively. These parasites are all able to establish long-term chronic infections in people resulting in a wide range of outcomes from death and severe morbidity to more mild forms and subclinical carrier states.

We are studying these parasites and the host-parasite relationships from several complementary perspectives: How did they evolve? What are the host, pathogen and environmental factors that determine infection outcomes and disease severity? How can we use our understanding of them to discover new and better treatments?

Currently our main focus is the pathogenesis of digestive forms of Chagas disease. We are using experimental models of T. cruzi infection to study how this parasite establishes and maintains a chronic reservoir in the GI tract and the associated impact on the enteric nervous system. We are using this model to evaluate the efficacy of new treatments as part of drug discovery programmes for Chagas disease.



Selected Publications

Microevolution of Trypanosoma cruzi reveals hybridization and clonal mechanisms driving rapid genome diversification.
Matos GM; Lewis MD; Talavera-López C; Yeo M; Grisard EC; Messenger LA; Miles MA; Andersson B
Local association of Trypanosoma cruzi chronic infection foci and enteric neuropathic lesions at the tissue micro-domain scale.
Khan AA; Langston HC; Costa FC; Olmo F; Taylor MC; McCann CJ; Kelly JM; Lewis MD
PLoS pathogens
Fatal progression of experimental visceral leishmaniasis is associated with intestinal parasitism and secondary infection by commensal bacteria, and is delayed by antibiotic prophylaxis.
Lewis MD; Paun A; Romano A; Langston H; Langner CA; Moore IN; Bock KW; Francisco AF; Brenchley JM; Sacks DL
PLoS pathogens
Host-parasite dynamics in Chagas disease from systemic to hyper-local scales.
Pérez-Mazliah D; Ward AI; Lewis MD
In Vivo Analysis of Trypanosoma cruzi Persistence Foci at Single-Cell Resolution.
Ward AI; Lewis MD; Khan AA; McCann CJ; Francisco AF; Jayawardhana S; Taylor MC; Kelly JM
Host and parasite genetics shape a link between Trypanosoma cruzi infection dynamics and chronic cardiomyopathy.
Lewis MD; Francisco AF; Taylor MC; Jayawardhana S; Kelly JM
Cellular microbiology
Genome and phylogenetic analyses of Trypanosoma evansi reveal extensive similarity to T. brucei and multiple independent origins for dyskinetoplasty.
Carnes J; Anupama A; Balmer O; Jackson A; Lewis M; Brown R; Cestari I; Desquesnes M; Gendrin C; Hertz-Fowler C
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
Bioluminescence imaging of chronic Trypanosoma cruzi infections reveals tissue-specific parasite dynamics and heart disease in the absence of locally persistent infection.
Lewis MD; Fortes Francisco A; Taylor MC; Burrell-Saward H; McLatchie AP; Miles MA; Kelly JM
Cellular microbiology
See more Publications