The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) is a higher education institution with degree awarding powers[2] and registered charity[3] located in Liverpool, United Kingdom. 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).


Deans and directors of the school

The school’s director is elected by its governing council every three to five years, with no limit on the number of terms that any individual director can be re-elected to.

Whilst Sir Rubert Boyce became the school’s first director upon its foundation in 1898 there would not be another ‘director’ for almost ninety years. This is because the director post that Boyce held became associated with the newly endowed chair of tropical medicine upon its creation in 1902. From this date the title of director was replaced with that of ‘Dean’ until it was brought back into use with the election of David Molyneux in 1991.


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) Tropical Disease Biology (c) Clinical Sciences and (d) Vector Biology.[8]

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 Tropical Disease Biology

The Department of Tropical Disease Biology 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.