London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is a public research university in Bloomsbury, Camden, and a constituent college of the University of London that specialises in public health and tropical medicine. On successful completion of their studies, its students gain a University of London degree.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Established1899 – London School of Tropical Medicine
1924 – London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine established by Royal Charter
FounderSir Patrick Manson
Parent institution
University of London
Endowment£16.1 million (2018-19)[1]
Budget£247.5 million (2018–19)[1]
ChancellorThe Princess Royal (University of London)
DirectorLord Piot
Academic staff
810 (London, 2018-19)[1]
1,799 (MRC Units Gambia and Uganda, 2018-19)[1]
Administrative staff
580 (London, 2018-19)[1]
Students1,282 (2018-19)[1]
Bloomsbury, London, England, United Kingdom
CampusUrban Edit this at Wikidata

The institution was founded in 1899 by Sir Patrick Manson, after a donation from the Indian Parsi philanthropist B. D. Petit. Since its foundation it has become one of the most highly placed institutions in global rankings in the fields of public health and infectious diseases.[2][3][4]

The LSHTM's mission is to contribute to the improvement of health worldwide through the pursuit of excellence in research, postgraduate teaching and advanced training in national and international public health and tropical medicine, and through informing policy and practice in these areas. The annual income of the institution for 2018–19 was £247.5 million of which £167.6 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £267.8 million.[1]


The Albert Dock Seamen's Hospital in the early 20th century

The school was founded in 1899 by Sir Patrick Manson as the London School of Tropical Medicine after the Parsi philanthropist Bomanjee Dinshaw Petit made a donation of £6,666.[5]

It was initially located at the Albert Dock Seamen's Hospital in the London Docklands.[6] Just prior to this teaching in tropical medicine had been commenced in 1899 at the Extramural school at Edinburgh and even earlier at London's Livingstone College founded in 1893 by Charles F. Harford-Battersby (1865–1925). Before giving lectures at St George's Hospital, London, in 1895, Livingstone College afforded Manson his first opportunity to teach courses in tropical medicine.[7] Manson's early career was as a physician in the Far East where he deduced the correct etiology of filariasis, a parasitic vector based disease, transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. On his return to London, he was appointed Medical Advisor to the Colonial Office. He strongly believed that physicians should be trained in tropical medicine to treat British colonial administrators and others working throughout Britain's tropical empire. He also encouraged and mentored Ronald Ross during this period to uncover the correct etiology of malaria, which Ross subsequently discovered in 1897, winning the Nobel Prize for his efforts. The original school was established as part of the Seamen's Hospital Society.

In 1902, the benefactor Petit wrote the following about the institution in a letter to Sir Francis Lovell (Dean of the School), quoted in The Times.

This institution, whilst according ample scope to students of diseases that well nigh devastate the East, will be the means of bringing the Western and Eastern minds together to afford help to the suffering East, and thus cementing that union of hearts.[8]

Among the School's early achievements were discoveries by George Carmichael Low, who proved filariasis is spread by mosquito bites, and Aldo Castellani, who discovered trypanosomes in the cerebral fluid of those affected by sleeping sickness, as well as further experiments proving mosquitoes as the vector in the spread of malaria.[9]

Keppel Street building [10]

During World War I, many of the faculty were conscripted into the army where they often continued to treat or research tropical diseases with the aim of protecting the health of the troops fighting in the Middle Eastern and African campaigns. Meanwhile, enough faculty remained at the School to continue its operations, although enrollment drastically fell during the war. On the night of January 19, 1917 a TNT explosion from a nearby munition depot damaged the school and hospital, further complicating the School's operations. The remaining faculty also were increasingly involved in treating soldiers suffering from dysentery or malaria after their return from overseas. As a result of the war, the School expected an increase in the amount of patients suffering from tropical diseases after the return of troops from abroad and so a resolution was proposed to move the School to Central London.[9][11]

In 1920 the School moved, with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, to Endsleigh Gardens in central London, taking over a former hotel which had been used as a hospital for officers during the First World War.[12] In 1921 the Athlone Committee recommended the creation of an institute of state medicine, which built on a proposal by the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a London-based institution that would lead the world in the promotion of public health and tropical medicine. This enlarged school, now named the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine was granted its Royal Charter in 1924.


The school moved to its present location in Gower Street in 1929. A competition to design a new school building to be sited in Gower Street, was held involving five architects, all experienced in laboratory design and construction. This was won in 1925 by Morley Horder and Verner Rees who located the main entrance in Keppel Street. This building was opened in 1929 by the Prince of Wales. The purchase of the site and the cost of a new building was made possible through a gift of $2m from the Rockefeller Foundation.[13] The school also has a secondary site on Tavistock Place to the east.



Faculty of Epidemiology and Population HealthEdit

The Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health aims to be a methodological centre of excellence for research in national and global health issues, to expand the limits of epidemiological thinking & multi-disciplinary research to further understanding of health issues in their full complexity, to develop, refine and disseminate tools & methods for research design, data collection, analysis and evaluation, and to conduct rigorous research in national and global health.

Faculty of Infectious and Tropical DiseasesEdit

The Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (ITD) was formed in August 1997 and encompasses all of the laboratory-based research in the School as well as that on the clinical and epidemiological aspects of infectious and tropical diseases. It is currently headed by Simon Croft, who is Professor of Parasitology. The Faculty is organised into four large research departments. The range of disciplines represented in the faculty is very broad and inter-disciplinary research is a feature of much of its activity.

The Reading Room of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Library taken in 1929. Image courtesy of the Library & Archives Service of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine[14]

The spectrum of diseases studied is wide and there are major research groups working on topics which include:

  • HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • malaria and other vector borne diseases
  • tuberculosis
  • vaccine development and evaluation
  • vector biology and disease control

There is close interaction between scientists in different research teams. The Faculty has overseas links which provide a basis for field studies and international collaborations in developed and developing countries. Funding for research in the Faculty comes from around 45 funding organisations and agencies.

Faculty of Public Health and PolicyEdit

The Faculty of Public Health and Policy aims to improve global health through research, teaching and the provision of advice in the areas of health policy, health systems and services, and individual, social and environmental influences on health. Interests and activities embrace the health needs of people living in countries at all levels of development. The School has the largest numbers of research active staff in the areas of epidemiology, public health and health services research in the UK.[15] The Faculty of Public Health and Policy has over 220 members of staff, including epidemiologists, public health physicians, economists, policy analysts, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, psychologists, statisticians and mathematicians. The Faculty's research programmes, with an annual spend of over £7m, focus on public health problems of importance both globally and in the UK, and build on an extensive network of collaborations.[16]

The research programmes exploit multidisciplinary and multi-method approaches, generate new knowledge for specific contexts and test transferability to different settings, and engage with policymakers and providers of health care to ensure research is relevant and translated into practice.

The Faculty hosts School Centres in the areas of History in Public Health,[17] Research on Drugs and Health Behaviours, Spatial Analysis in Public Health, Global Change and Health, Health of Societies in Transition (ECOHOST), and Gender Violence and Health. In addition, staff participate in Centres based in other departments, notably the Malaria Centre and the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Disease.

Research centresEdit

Balconies at the front of the building are decorated with gilded disease vectors, here a flea (for bubonic plague).
LSHTM Entrance sign and logo

The School is currently home to the following research centres:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance Centre
  • Centre for Global Chronic Conditions
  • Centre for Global Mental Health
  • Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)
  • Malaria Centre
  • Centre for Evaluation
  • Centre for Statistical Methodology
  • TB Centre
  • Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre
  • The Applied Genomics Centre
  • Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases
  • Centre for History in Public Health
  • The Vaccine Centre
  • Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health

Teaching and research programmesEdit

The library of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

All three Faculties offer a wide range of MSc courses and Research Degrees leading to a University of London degree of DrPH, MPhil and PhD. Courses are delivered both face-to-face in London and via distance learning in collaboration with the University of London International Programmes. The School also offers access to free online courses.


The LSHTM won the 2009 Gates Award for Global Health established by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and received $1 million in prize money.[18] The award recognises organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to improving global health.

More recently, a team of researchers led by Richard Hayes at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, have been awarded $37 million to test an innovative combination of strategies to prevent HIV in African countries.[citation needed]

Donald Reid MedalEdit

The Donald Reid Medal is awarded triennially by the LSHTM in recognition of distinguished contributions to epidemiology.[19]


University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[20]201-300 (2020)
CWTS World[21]23 (2020)
USNWR Global[22]114 (2021)

In 2008, the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed the School as a world leading centre for research. The School has been ranked one of the top three research institutions in the UK in the Times Higher Education Table of Excellence, which is based on the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

In the 2015 CWTS Leiden Ranking, the LSHTM ranked as the top university in Europe for research impact in all fields, ahead of Oxford and Cambridge.[23] The School was also ranked 6th overall in the world for impact based on the top 1% of published papers in all fields, after MIT, Harvard, Caltech, Stanford and Berkeley, 3rd in the world for biomedical and health sciences, after only MIT and Caltech, and 5th in the world overall for collaborative research.[23] By 2020 the School ranked 23rd.[24]

For the 2021 US News Best Global Universities Rankings, LSHTM ranked 3rd in Public, Environmental and Occupational Health, 4th in Infectious Diseases, and 11th in the world for Social Sciences and Public Health.[25] The School also ranked 45th in the world for clinical medicine and 88th for cardiovascular systems, 26th for immunology and 46th for microbiology, contributing to an overall ranking of 114th in the world, 43rd in Europe and 12th in the UK.[25]

In the 2020 ARWU Ranking for the subject of Public Health, LSHTM ranked 3rd globally behind only Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University.[26]

Due to the absence of undergraduate degrees, LSHTM is not included in the QS and Times Higher Education university rankings.[27][28]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 July 2019" (PDF). London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. p. 50. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  2. ^ "School ranked third globally for social sciences and public health by US News & World report | London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | LSHTM". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Top Social Sciences and Public Health Universities in the World | US News Best Global Universities". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  4. ^ "School tops research league tables in 2015 Leiden Ranking | London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | LSHTM". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  5. ^ [1] Medical Record – Volume 70 by George Frederick Shrady, Thomas Lathrop Stedman – 1906– Page 26
  6. ^ Cook GC, Webb AJ (2001). "The Albert Dock Hospital, London: the original site (in 1899) of Tropical Medicine as a new discipline". Acta Trop. 79 (3): 249–55. doi:10.1016/S0001-706X(01)00127-9. PMID 11412810.
  7. ^ Johnson, Ryan (1910) Colonial Mission and Imperial Tropical Medicine: Livingstone College, London, 1893–1914, Social History of Medicine Volume 23, Issue 3 Pp. 549–566
  8. ^ "The London School of Tropical Medicine". The Times (36874). 16 September 1902. p. 7.
  9. ^ a b "Historical timeline". LSHTM. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  10. ^ "LSHTM Library & Archives main webpage".
  11. ^ Manson-Bahr, Sir Philip (1956). History of the School of Tropical Medicine in London, 1899–1949.
  12. ^ "Albert Dock Seamen's Hospital". AIM25.
  13. ^ "London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine website, The History of the Building page". Archived from the original on 17 August 2016.
  14. ^ "LSHTM Library & Archives Main webpage".
  15. ^ RAE 2008
  16. ^ LSHTM Annual Report 2008
  17. ^ Centre for History in Public Health,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
  18. ^ "2009 Gates Award for Global Health". Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  19. ^ London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Report on the Work of the School 1977–1978, page 21, 1978, (London:London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
  20. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities".
  21. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020".
  22. ^ "Best Global Universities".
  23. ^ a b "School tops research league tables in 2015 Leiden Ranking | London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | LSHTM". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  24. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020".
  25. ^ a b "London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine - USNWR".
  26. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020 - Public Health | Shanghai Ranking - 2020". Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  27. ^ "World University Rankings – Frequently Asked Questions". Top Universities. 6 June 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  28. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2020: methodology". Times Higher Education (THE). 2 September 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2020.

Further readingEdit

The "Gilded Vectors of Disease" on the front of the building

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°31′15″N 0°07′51″W / 51.5209°N 0.1307°W / 51.5209; -0.1307