Dr Michael Lewis
BSc MSc PhD
I obtained a BSc in Genetics in 2002 and an MSc in Medical Molecular Microbiology in 2004, both from the University of Nottingham. I later completed my PhD and early post-doctoral work on the genetics and evolution of Trypanosoma cruzi in Michael Miles' lab at LSHTM. I then undertook further post-doctoral work in John Kelly's lab where I developed bioluminescence in vivo imaging systems for T. cruzi. In 2014 I was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship and moved to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA to work with David Sacks on the pathogenesis of visceral leishmaniasis.
Since returning to LSHTM in 2016 I have continued to study host-parasite interactions and chronic disease pathogenesis. I am Principal Investigator on an MRC funded project that aims to discover the mechanisms of parasite persistence and disease pathogenesis in digestive Chagas disease.
I am involved in teaching across several of LSHTM's London-based MSc courses. I am deputy module organiser for 3160 (MBID:Research Progress & Applications) and DL203 (Parasitology) on the MSc Infectious Diseases by distance learning programme.
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 genetic 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.