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Martha Blum Lewis, MD, PhD


Martha Blum, MD, PhD

UCLA Physician Martha Blum, MD, PhD specializes in Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine.
Preferred Name
Martha Blum Lewis
Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine
Language Spoken
Hospital Affiliation
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica
State License Number
(310) 206-7663 Information and referral

UCLA Infectious Disease
200 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 365-C
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Infectious Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine, 2007
Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, 2006
Infectious Disease, UCLA School of Medicine, 2004 - 2007
Internal Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, 2003 - 2004
Internal Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, 2002 - 2003
Medical Degree
MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, 2002
Department Affiliation
Physician, Infectious Diseases
Research Interest
Pathogenesis and evolution of chronic viral infections.
Additional Information
Outpatient clinic visits limited to post-discharge ID follow-up.

Dr. Lewis has an interest in studying how selective pressure from the immune system and/or drug therapy affects the evolution and pathogenesis of chronic viral infections. She received her combined M.D./Ph.D. from the Tri-Institutional Program at Cornell and Rockefeller Universities in New York City. Her Ph.D. research focused on the origins, evolution and pathogenesis of Human T Lymphotropic Viruses (HTLVs). She then moved to the other coast to complete training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at UCLA, including post-doctoral research in Dr. Otto Yang¡¦s laboratory. Her research aims to study the reciprocal relationship between the immune system and viruses that cause chronic infections.

Work in the area of HIV-1 has focused on exploring factors that impair the immune system¡¦s ability to control viral replication. Projects include investigating the HIV-1 accessory protein Nef¡¦s ability to direct evasion of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) through downregulation of MHC Class I molecules. Another area of ongoing investigation is examining patterns of HIV-1 genome evolution in response to selective pressure from CTLs. The lab utilizes primary viral isolates and cloning of quasispecies in order to explore the potential in vivo relevance of various mechanisms of immune evasion. The study of the relationship between virus and host using a combination of theoretical data from viral sequence analysis (phylogenetic analysis) together with experimental data is a unique feature of the lab's approach. These tools are also being used to investigate unique patterns of recombination and evolution of HIV in populations in Cameroon and Malawi.

More recently work has begun in the area of Hepatitis C virus. The lab employs techniques to isolate lymphocytes and viral RNA from liver specimens and peripheral blood. Studies of the specificity and function of intra-hepatic lymphocytes and patterns of HCV evolution are in progress. In addition to these research interests, Dr. Lewis also sees patients as part of the Clinical Infectious Diseases consult service.

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