Malcolm John Lewis

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 01 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1676
  1. Richard Slack,
  2. Francis O’Grady

    After training and hospital jobs in Bristol, Malcolm John Lewis joined the Lister Institute with Bruce Stocker to work on bacterial genetics. He then joined the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) as a trainee bacteriologist, where he worked at the Central Laboratory, Colindale, under the supervision of E S Anderson. There he was involved in seminal work on the spread of bacterial plasmids in Salmonella typhimurium, the subject of his MD thesis. This led to the link between antimicrobial resistance in human beings and domesticated animals which was crucial to the Swann report limiting the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in the United Kingdom.

    He moved to Nottingham and became consultant in 1970. On the establishment of the combined university/PHLS Department in 1974, he became senior lecturer in microbiology and was a skilled and enthusiastic teacher to the new undergraduate course. In 1976 he was appointed director of the Nottingham Public Health Laboratory at an exciting time in the expansion of health services in Nottingham with a new medical school and opening of Queen’s Medical Centre. Malcolm was involved in the centralisation of the microbiology services for the whole of the district to produce the largest microbiology laboratory in the country at that time, setting a trend for similar rationalisation in other large cities.

    He was part of the group that made the first recognition of legionnaires’ disease in the United Kingdom, and he was secretary to the PHLS Water Committee. As part of this interest he established the Water Laboratory in Nottingham.

    He retired in 1993 and had many happy years travelling with his wife, Shirley, a consultant community paediatrician, until his illness made that pleasure impossible. Predeceased by Shirley in 2007, he leaves two children and three grandchildren.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1676


    • Former director Nottingham Public Health Laboratory (b 1933; q Bristol 1957; MD), died from pneumonia complicating Parkinson’s disease on 17 January 2009.

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