Kim Lewis

Kim Lewis



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

Area(s) of Expertise

Molecular Microbiology

Research Interests

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.

Lab Website



306C Mugar Life Sciences Building

New research opens the door for treatment of relapsing bacterial infections

A new discovery by University Distinguished Professor Kim Lewis and his colleagues could advance customized treatments for people with relapsing bacterial infections.

Researchers’ discovery may explain difficulty in treating Lyme disease

A research team led by University Distinguished Professor Kim Lewis presents in a new paper that it has identified drug-tolerant persister cells in the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The researchers also present a promising approach to potentially eradicating this and other infections.

Newly discovered antibiotic kills pathogens without resistance

Born from soil, the novel compound made possible by Northeastern researchers’ pioneering work is making headlines around the world.