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EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN

Kim Lewis

University Distinguished Professor

Mailing Address:

134 MU (Mugar Life Sciences Building), Boston, MA 02115

Expertise:

  • Molecular Microbiology

Links:

Publications:

Our laboratory studies persister cells and uncultured bacteria. Persisters are dormant variants of regular cells which are tolerant to antibiotics and responsible for recalcitrance of biofilm infections. Using transcriptome analysis, cell sorting and whole genome sequencing we are identifying genes responsible for persister formation. We identified a number of mechanisms for persister formation, and the first compound that kills them, acyldepsipeptide. Uncultured bacteria make up the majority of species on the planet, but do not grow in the lab. We developed a general method to grow these organisms by cultivation in their natural environment. In marine sediment, siderophores from neighbors serve as growth factors for uncultured bacteria. We have recently identified growth factors for uncultured bacteria from the human microbiome. We also use uncultured bacteria as a source for discovering new antibiotics.

 

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Kim Lewis in the news

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These bacteria may be the key to treating clinical depression

Scientists estimate that we share our bodies with 38 trillion organisms that play an integral part in keeping us healthy and making us who we are. They crawl across our skin, cling to our intestines, and generally call our bodies home. Now, a study led by researchers at Northeastern shows that there is a potential link between the bacteria that live in our gut and clinical depression.
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Ticks creep into the city, bringing Lyme disease with them

With the sprawling of suburbia comes unwanted new neighbors. Ticks are no longer only dwellers of the deep forest—they can be found in cities, too, said University Distinguished Professor Kim Lewis at Northeastern. His lab is working to develop a cure for chronic Lyme disease, which develops in a subset of people diagnosed with Lyme disease.