Dorothy E. Lewis Ph.D. received her Ph.D. in Microbiology in 1978 at the University of Arizona and then did an NIH supported Immunology postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New Mexico from 1978 to 1982. She worked on the genetics of NZB autoimmunity and became an expert in Flow Cytometry.
In 1982, she moved to Baylor College of Medicine to set up a flow cytometry facility and to begin her own research program, initially focused on autoimmunity. However, in the first few years of operation of the Flow core, she became involved in analyzing patient cells that came from the blood of those with an unknown immunodeficiency, later identified as HIV. She was among the first to document changes in CD8 T cells in HIV-infected people and the implications of their activation and cellular death. She received her first NIH grant in 1985 to examine the CD8 T cells and has continuous support for her work in various aspects of HIV pathogenesis since that time. She rose through the ranks at BCM and became a full professor in 2001, along with serving as Graduate program director for the Department of Immunology. She received the Mark Dresden award in 2004 for her mentoring efforts at BCM as well as two community awards for HIV research and activity in 2001 and 2002. She was a member of the AIDS virology study section from 1992-1996, served on the NIAID council from 2002-2006 and was the chair of the AIP (AIDS Immunology and Pathogenesis) study section from 2009-2011. She is currently on a Training and Workforce Diversity study section. She is the Immunology core director of the BCM/UT Center for AIDS research and has developed immune assays for clinical use. Her current work is focused on the HIV pathogenesis with the hypothesis that Granzyme B from activated/HIV infected memory CD4 T cells, may be responsible for the gut breach seen early in HIV infection. She is also interested in how immune cells interact with adipose tissue to lead to lypodystrophy and as a possible reservoir for latent HIV infection. Her other line of research involves the characterization and selection of fetal microparticles from the maternal circulation for the purpose of genetic diagnosis or understanding pathologic pregnancies, such as pre-eclampsia.