Professor Michael Miles
BSc MSc PhD DSc FRCPath
of Medical Protozoology
1971-1981 Wellcome-Harvard-London Scheme, seconded to Brazil. 1981-1989 Wellcome Trust Senior Lecturer. 1984-2002, Head of three successive Research Units at LSHTM. Professor of Medical Protozoology at LSHTM 1993 to present.
Principal research interests have been: genetic diversity and molecular genetics of protozoan parasites, particularly Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania species; the epidemiology and control of South American Trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) and of visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis; the molecular taxonomy of triatomine bugs (Hemiptera:Reduviidae); the ecology of South American mammals and developmental diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases.
Coordination of international research collaborations: co-applicant and LSHTM coordinator for Euroleish-Net (which supports 15 early stage researchers/PhD students, 3 in LSHTM); partner in new EDCTP network (collaboration with Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda); PI and Coordinator of previous EC networks FP5, FP6 LeishEpiNetSA (12 partners) and FP7 ChagasEpiNet (15 partners); partner in FP7 NIDIAG. Participant in Citizen Science Initiative for Venezuela, led by Martin Llewellyn (Glasgow). Research collaborations in several South American countries, including Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and in the Sudan, India and Europe.
Founder, MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases (CID), Course/Programme Director for 20 years, now deputising for current Programme Director, Matthew Yeo.
Founder and Course Director of previous MSc course in Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases.
Module Organiser:module 3125 Introduction to Infectious Disease Agents and their Control, and 11 week term 1 core teaching for MSc CID. Tutor, MSc project supervisor, MSc CID Exam Board and Course Committee, internal and external teaching on Medical Parasitology, Molecular Epidemiology, Vector Control, Diagnostics, principally in the context of South American Trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) and leishhmaniasis.
PhD supervisor, currently 3 students + co-supervisor of 1 external (over 30 previous PhD students).
Research is primarily on molecular epidemiology and taxonomy of Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruzi, improvement of control strategies, including both fundamental experimental and field research, and on diagnostics development.
Examples of research achievements (with research collaborators) include:
Described the biochemical and genetic heterogeneity of T. cruzi (Nature publication).
Pioneered the concept of separate, overlapping and enzootic transmission cycles as applied to the epidemiology of Chagas disease.
Showed that Rhodnius prolixus in Venezuela reinvades houses (with Sinead Fitzpatrick).
Circumstantially linked distinct genotypes of T. cruzi to the diverse chronic manifestations of Chagas disease (Brazil and Venezuela; Lancet publication).
Originated the hypothesis that disinct T. cruzi lineages have broad but not exclusive evolutionary associations with arboreal and terrestrial transmission cycles - Didelphis marsupialis a predominant host of T. cruzi I and the armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus associated with T. cruzi III.
Obtained the first experimental proof of genetic exchange in T. cruzi (Nature publication).
Demonstrated that Trypanosoma rangeli is widely distributed in Brazil, and described its hosts and vectors.
Defined biochemical characters distinguishing several New World Leishmania species.
Applied comparative molecular genetics to demonstrate the synonymy of Leishmania chagasi and Leishmania infantum [with Isabel Mauricio].
Described in vitro systems to induce metacyclogenesis in Leishmania donovani and Leishmania braziliensis, showing lentil lectin to be a marker of complement resistance and infectivity [with Keith Howard].
Demonstrated that Didelphis marsupialis is a host of L. guyanensis in Amazonian Brazil (with Jorge Arias).
Described the ecotopes of several Amazonian triatomine species and explained the absence of endemic (domestic) Chagas disease in the Amazon Basin.
Discovered the new triatomine species Rhodnius paraensis from Amazon forest, and the silvatic epitope of Panstrongylus megistus in Rio de Janeiro.
Developed spool-and-line mammal tracking for locating triatomines in animal nests and refuges and for studies of mammal ecology.
Demonstrated L. braziliensis/L. peruviana hybrids and evidence of recombination events in Viannia populations in Peru (with Debbie Nolder).
Drew attention to the global threat of visceral leishmaniasis/HIV co-infection (Nature Correspondence).
Visualisation of hybrid transgenic Leishmania in sand flies (with Sadlova, Yeo, Volf et al.)
Various genetic molecular epidemiological studies of T. cruzi (with EC ChagasEpiNet partners) and Leishmania (with EC LeishEpiNet partners).
Lineage-specific T. cruzi synthetic peptide rapid diagnostic test (with Tapan Bhattacharyya).
Compared genetic diversity of L. donovani, and levels of antibody response in visceral leishmaniasis, between India and Sudan, in the context of comparative efficacy of rapid diagnostic tests (with Tapan Bhattacharyya).
Development of a rapid serological diagnostic test to detect post-chemotherapy relapse of visceral leishmaniasis and progression from asymptomatic carrier status to active disease (with Tapan Bhattacharyya).
Current research is focused on Genetic Diversity and Comparative Genomics, and Diagnostics Discovery and Development.