Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Type Public
Established 12 November 1898
Director Janet Hemingway
Location Liverpool, United Kingdom
53°24′31″N 02°58′09″W / 53.40861°N 2.96917°W / 53.40861; -2.96917Coordinates: 53°24′31″N 02°58′09″W / 53.40861°N 2.96917°W / 53.40861; -2.96917
Campus Urban
Website Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) is a higher education institution and registered charity located in Liverpool, United Kingdom.[1]


Established in 1898, it was the first institution in the world dedicated to research and teaching in tropical medicine. The school has a research portfolio of over £220 million, assisted by funding from organisations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and Department for International Development (DFID).[2]

LSTM’s first overseas expedition was to Sierra Leone in 1899 and it was in the same country where LSTM opened its first overseas research laboratory in 1921. As of 2013 LSTM has partnerships and projects operating in over 70 countries.


The original LSTM building, which was opened in 1914
The new and original buildings

LSTM was founded on 12 November 1898 by Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, a local ship owner. At the time, Liverpool was a prominent port city which carried on an extensive trade with overseas regions such as West and Southern Africa. Consequently, the number of patients in the region admitted to hospital with ‘tropical’ diseases soared, so he set up the School of Tropical Medicine with local business and health pioneers to investigate these outbreaks. LSTM relied on the facilities of University College, now known as the University of Liverpool, until 1920 when it occupied its present location at Pembroke Place.

Rubert Boyce was the inaugural Dean of the School of Tropical Medicine. He succeeded in recruiting Ronald Ross as the school’s first lecturer in Tropical Medicine. In 1902 Ross became the first British recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on malaria transmission. Other notable staff of the time included Joseph Everett Dutton who discovered one of the trypanosomes that cause sleeping sickness, Wolferstan Thomas who developed the first effective treatment for the disease, and his collaborator Anton Breinl, who later became ‘the father of tropical medicine’ in Australia.[3]

In 1921, Sir Alfred Lewis Jones funded the development of the school’s first overseas research laboratory in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Until the early stages of World War II, the laboratory made many important discoveries in West Africa, including demonstrating that a species of black fly was responsible for transmission of filarial worm to humans, causing river blindness.

In 1946, the appointment of LSTM’s longest serving Dean, Brian Maegraith, marked a broadening of the School’s size and curriculum. Maegraith famously declared ‘Our impact on the tropics should be in the tropics!’ which resulted in the school forging links with other research institutions across the globe and bringing research innovations to those most in need. An ongoing example of this is the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme which conducts research into local diseases of importance to Malawi.

Since 2000 LSTM has been directed by Janet Hemingway, who has spearheaded a period of large investment and expansion. In 2013, the school was awarded higher education institution status.[4]


LSTM has a broad portfolio of basic and translational research and policy activities in infectious diseases and public health research. To achieve this, the school is split into four departments: (a) International Public Health (b) Parasitology (c) Clinical Sciences and (d) Vector Biology.[5]

Department of International Public Health

The Department of International Public Health specialises in the use of research to guide policies, strengthen health systems and improve health care. This is achieved through work on monitoring and evaluation, gender equity, capacity strengthening and research into the role of human resources in policy development. The Department also leads research into the development and scale-up of large scale, complex interventions to prevent the spread of HIV and houses the rapidly expanding Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health.

Department of Parasitology

The Department of Parasitology conducts internationally rated basic research on tropical parasites such as malaria, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, soil transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis as well as research into snakebite and neglected tropical diseases. Housed in LSTM’s Centre for Tropical and Infectious Disease the Department is a global leader in drug and diagnostics discovery and disease pathogenesis.

Department of Clinical Sciences

The Department for Clinical Sciences focuses on improving the management of important diseases in the tropics. Researchers work across a broad spectrum of clinical sciences, including: experimental medicine; evidence synthesis; clinical trials; implementation and evaluation; teaching and clinical practice. Specific areas of interest include clinical infectious disease epidemiology, developing preventative and therapeutic strategies for respiratory infections, and improving child and adolescent health.

The Department also hosts the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group who help inform global policy by working closely with the World Health Organization and others to prepare systematic reviews in tropical infectious diseases.

Department of Vector Biology

The Department of Vector Biology has a research profile that spans from functional genomics of disease vectors to clinical trials, implementation research and the development of tools for monitoring and evaluation of disease transmission. The Department’s research is centred on improving the control of vector borne diseases in the developing world, with a focus on neglected tropical diseases and malaria. Understanding mosquito behaviour, evolutionary genomics and the extent, causes and impact of insecticide resistance on malaria control is major research strength of the department.

Cross cutting themes

Overlaid on this structure are five cross-cutting themes, which draw upon expertise from all four research departments. The themes are: Capacity Development; Centre for Applied Health Research and Delivery; Evidence-based Medicine; Neglected Tropical Diseases and the Centre for Health in the Eastern Mediterranean.


LSTM offers a range of postgraduate education programmes, teaching over 600 students from around the world. These vary from taught master's degrees in humanitarian assistance and international public health, diplomas and short courses in tropical and infectious diseases, to research degrees leading to MPhil, DrPH and PhD.[6]


The Mary Kingsley Medal was instituted by LSTM co-founder John Holt in 1903 and is awarded for outstanding contributions in the field of tropical medicine. It is named in honour Mary Kingsley, a noted traveller and writer of the late 19th century, who had a powerful influence on the way Africa was perceived at the time, and who died in South Africa at the age of 38 from suspected typhoid. The 100th award was made in 2015.[7]

Recipients of the award include Patrick Manson, David Bruce, Waldemar Haffkine, Bernard Nocht and Hans Vogel.

Notable alumni

The following are some of the notable alumni of the school:

See also


  1. News Release, . (24 July 2013). "Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Becomes Higher Education Institution". Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  2. LSTM, . (12 November 2012). "Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine: Financial Statements for The Year Ended 31 July 2012" (PDF). Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  3. LSTM, . "History of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine". Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  4. Turner, Ben (24 July 2013). "Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Wins Full Independence". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  5. LSTM, . "Research At Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine". Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  6. MCDC, . (2014). "MCDC: Our Partners - Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)". Malaria Capacity Development Consortium (MCDC). Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  7. "Mary Kingsley Medal". Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
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