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Kim Lewis

Professor, Biology
Affiliated Faculty, Bioengineering
306C Mugar Life Sciences
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


The focus of my research is on antimicrobial drug tolerance and drug discovery. Microorganisms produce persister cells, which are dormant variants that are highly tolerant to killing by all known antibiotics. Persisters are largely responsible for relapsing chronic infections caused by biofilms. Using transcriptome analysis, cell sorting and whole genome sequencing we are identifying genes responsible for persister formation. Both drug tolerance and conventional drug resistance require development of new antibiotics, and our discovery efforts include screening compounds from previously “uncultured” species of microorganisms, and high-throughput screening for compounds with novel mode of action.


Ph.D., Biochemistry, Moscow University, Moscow, USSR
B.Sc., Biology, Moscow University, Moscow, USSR

Research & Scholarship Interests

molecular microbiology; antimicrobial drug tolerance; drug discovery
Affiliated With

College Research Initiatives

Selected Publications

  • B.P. Conlon, S.E. Rowe, A. Brown Gandt, A.S. Nuxoll, N.P. Donegan, E.A. Zalis, G. Clair, J.N. Adkins, A.L. Cheung, K. Lewis, ATP Depletion is Associated with Antibiotic Tolerance in Staphylococcus aureus, Nature Microbiology, 1, 2016, 1-7
  • M.A. Schumacher, P. Balani, J. Min, N.B. Chinnam, S. Hansen,  M. Vulic, K. Lewis, R.G. Brennan, HipAB–promoter Structures Reveal the Basis of Heritable Multidrug Tolerance, Nature, 524, 2015, 59-64
  • L.L. Ling, T. Schneider, A.J. Peoples, A.L. Spoering, I. Engels, B.P. Conlon, A. Mueller, T.F. Schäberle, D.E. Hughes, S. Epstein, M. Jones, L. Lazarides, V.A. Steadman, D.R. Cohen, C.R. Felix, K.A. Fetterman, W.P. Millett, A.G. Nitti, A.M. Zullo, C. Chen, K. Lewis, A New Antibiotic Kills Pathogens Without Detectable Resistance, Nature, 517, 2015, 455-459
  • B. Sharma,  A.V. Brown, N.E. Matluck, L.T. Hu, K. Lewis, Borrelia burgdorferi, the Causative Agent of Lyme Disease, Forms Drug-Tolerant Persister Cells, Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59, 2015, 4616-4624
  • E. Gavrish, C.S. Sit, S. Cao, O. Kandror, A. Spoering, A. Peoples, L. Ling, A. Fetterman, D. Hughes, A. Bissell, H. Torrey, T. Akopian, A. Mueller, S. Epstein, A. Goldberg, J. Clardy, K. Lewis, Lassomycin, a Ribosomally Synthesized Peptide, Kills Mycobacterium Tuberculosis by Targeting the ATP-dependent Protease ClpC1P1P2, Chemistry and Biology, 21, 2014, 509-518
  • B.P. Conlon, E.S. Nakayasu, L.E. Fleck, M.D. LaFleur, V.M. Isabella, K. Coleman, S.N. Leonard, R.D. Smith, J.N. Adkins, K. Lewis, Activated ClpP Kills Persisters and Eradicates a Chronic Biofilm Infection, Nature, 503, 2013, 365-370
  • K. Lewis, Platforms for Antibiotic Discovery, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 12, 2013, 371-387
  • I. Keren, Y. Wu, J. Innocencio, L. Mulcahy, K. Lewis, Killing by Bactericidal Antibiotics Does Not Depend on Reactive Oxygen Species, Science, 339, 2013, 1213-1216
  • K. Lewis, Recover the Lost Art of Drug Discovery, Nature, 485, 2012, 439-440

Related News

April 9, 2019

25 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY20 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 18 different projects representing up to $900K dollars of investment in research.

March 23, 2017

21 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY18 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 12 different projects representing $600K dollars of investment in research.

April 6, 2011

28 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY12 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 18 different research projects.