Kevin R. Theis, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Wayne State University School of Medicine
Education and Training
  • B.A. in English, LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York, USA
  • B.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY ESF, Syracuse, New York, USA
  • Dual Ph.D. in Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
Research Accomplishments
  • Demonstrated that the human placenta does not have a microbial signal beyond that also evident in background technical controls.
  • Efficaciously characterized the molecular microbiology of the human upper genital tract outside pregnancy.
  • Recognized as an international leader in the development and objective discussion of the hologenome concept of host-microbial evolution.
Research Interests
  • Identifying and managing microbial etiologies of obstetric syndromes
  • Human microbial and evolutionary ecology
  • Bioinformatics, especially multivariate data analysis
Selected Publications
  • Winters AD, Romero R, Gervasi MT, Gomez-Lopez N, Tran MR, Garcia-Flores V, Pacora P, Jung E, Hassan SS, Hsu C-D, Theis KR. Does the endometrial cavity have a molecular microbial signature? Scientific Reports. 2019; 9:9905.
  • Theis KR, Romero R, Winters AD, Greenberg JM, Gomez-Lopez N, Alhousseini A, Bieda J, Maymon E, Pacora P, Fettweis JM, Buck GA, Jefferson KK, Strauss III JF, Erez O, Hassan SS. Does the human placenta delivered at term have a microbiota? Results of cultivation, quantitative real-time PCR, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and metagenomics. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2019; 220:267.e1-39.
  • Theis KR, Dheilly NM, Klassen JL, Brucker RM, Baines JF, Bosch, TCG, Cryan JF, Gilbert SF, Goodnight CJ, Lloyd EA, Sapp J, Vandenkoornhuyse P, Zilber-Rosenberg I, Rosenberg E, Bordenstein SR. Getting the hologenome concept right: an eco-evolutionary framework for hosts and their microbiomes. mSystems. 2016; 1(2):e00028-16.
  • Bordenstein SR, Theis KR. Host biology in light of the microbiome: ten principles of holobionts and hologenomes. PLoS Biology. 2015; 13(8):e1002226.


  • Year 2 Medical Student Immunology, Microbiology and Virology
  • IM 7020/7520 Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis
  • IM 7040 Fundamentals of Research
  • MGG 7020 Metabolism and Disease

Laboratory website: