Dorothy Lewis, PhD
Job Negotiation Workshop: Academia
Job Title: Faculty Mentoring Director, Research Scientist
Current Employer: Houston Methodist Research Institute
PhD, Microbiology, University of Arizona (1978)
NIH supported Postdoctoral Fellowship (1978-1981)
For my PhD I worked on an animal model of MS in guinea pigs and for my fellowship a mouse model of Lupus autoimmunity. I moved to Baylor College of Medicine in 1982 to establish a lab and to begin and manage a Flow Cytometry core. I began HIV research in 1983 by examination of patient samples and then was continuously funded for my HIV research from 1985 to 2019. I found that the CD8 T cells in HIV patients were defective and died at a greater rate and received a MERIT award to continue this work. I found that untreated HIV patients with AIDS has a lot more HIV RNA in their peripheral blood lymphocytes than appreciated. I found that adipose tissue was a reservoir for HIV at the same level as other tissues and that anti-retroviral drugs did not penetrate the adipose suggesting that getting rid of this reservoir might be difficult.
I also worked with a large group of investigators that sought to select fetal cells from the maternal circulation for non-invasive genetic diagnosis. We found that fetal DNA could be found in microparticles released from trophoblasts over gestation and that this DNA could be sequenced.
I closed my lab in 2019 and decided to use all my acquired skills to help others be successful in their science. At Methodist, I am helping the faculty mainly with grant writing but also by connecting people with different skills to work together toward common goals.
Most useful skill sets acquired from/for your field:
Grant writing and reading skills
Lab management skills
Personal interaction skills
What I love most about my job:
I have always loved teaching and helping people become better scientists. I was a graduate program director, I participated in many science summer programs and evaluation of academic programs for student advancement. My current job is a good fit for my accumulated skills.