Kim Lewis

Kim Lewis



PhD, 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


Give to the Lyme Disease Research Fund



306C Mugar Life Sciences Building

Northeastern receives $9M grant to fast track the discovery of new antibiotics

A team led by University Distinguished Professor of Biology Kim Lewis received a five-year, $9 million grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to launch a novel platform for developing antibiotics that kill pathogens without encountering resistance.

How serious is the threat posed by new ‘superbug’?

ICYMI: Reports of the arrival in the U.S. of a new superbug that is resistant to an antibiotic of last resort have set off alarm bells among public health officials. Northeastern professor Kim Lewis explains the new superbug, how worried we should be, and how it might be stopped.

Northeastern researchers work to keep hospital-​​acquired staph infections in check

Hospital-related staph infections are rampant, with hundreds of thousands being reported in the U.S. each year. Northeastern researcher Kim Lewis and his colleagues are at the forefront of developing new drugs to stop the trend.

Researchers investigate four promising new treatments for Lyme disease

Northeastern researcher Kim Lewis and his team have launched an all-out effort to find a cure for Lyme disease, which afflicts nearly 300,000 new people in the U.S. each year. Their efforts aim to bring relief to all patients, including those who suffer from a debilitating chronic version of the disease.

Northeastern researcher to identify new treatments for Lyme with help from $1.5M grant

Northeastern University Distinguished Professor Kim Lewis has received a $1.5 million grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to develop better treatments for Lyme disease.

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.