What institutions did she attend?

  • Maria Regina Grade School, Trinidad
  • St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
  • Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, England-  BSc in Biochemistry
  • The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica- Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
  • Charing Cross & Westminster Medical School, University of London, England- PhD in Immunology and FRCPath (Immunology)
  • United Medical & Dental School, University of London, England- MSc in Medical Immunology

Other Achievements

  • Thriplow Fellowship to St George’s Hospital, London to participate in developing an antibody used in the treatment of asthma and other allergy-related disorders
  • Clinical Medal for Best Performance in the final MBBS examination, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI  St Augustine Campus


She graduated at the top of the medical studies class while caring for her two children.


She has lived in five countries, taught in four, and visited over 20. She loves to travel.

Michele Monteil (Date of Birth: 3rd Feb 1955)

Caribbean Women in STI

Professor Michele Monteil is a highly respected academic and physician. She has held the positions of Professor and Senior Clinical Lecturer in Immunology, and Head of the Department of Para-Clinical Sciences at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, St Augustine. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathology specialising in Immunology and Visiting Consultant in Immunology to Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. She also taught and practised for a number of years at Charing Cross & Westminster Medical School, University of London, England. Her research has contributed to the understanding of asthma and other allergy-related diseases, particularly among children in Trinidad and Tobago. She is especially interested in the link between respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and Saharan dust cover.

At present, the levels of asthma in the Caribbean are among the highest in the world. This is especially the case with asthma in children. Many people believe that this is due to high levels of Saharan dust often found in the environment during the dry season. Professor Monteil sought to test this hypothesis by pioneering the search for evidence in her homeland, working with a team of researchers. The results have shown that more children receive asthma treatment when there is a Saharan dust cloud over the country.

She is also interested in ethnic risk factors for the development of severe forms of dengue infection in the Trinidadian population, and has undertaken collaborative research studies in this area. An outstanding researcher, she has contributed to chapters in two books and many peer-reviewed journal articles. She has also presented at numerous conferences on immunology and epidemiology (the study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations).

Michele Anne Monteil (née Bain) was born on 3rd February, 1955 in London, England but was raised in Trinidad by her grandparents. As a child, she could often be found taking care of others, including the family’s sick puppies. She cannot remember ever wanting to be anything but a doctor. Her interest in immunology was sparked during her bachelor’s degree when she heard lectures on clinical immunology.

Looking forward, she predicts an increased need for medically trained persons to study the impact of climate change on human health. She is hopeful about the future as she sees young people showing more interest in the environment than did persons from her generation. Her advice to students is to, “Do what you love; if you love science, do it well and enjoy the journey.”


What is an immunologist?

An immunologist is a medical scientist who investigates the cause and development of diseases of the immune system, and who also treats or controls these diseases. Such diseases include hypersensitivities, autoimmune disorders, immune deficiencies and transplant rejections. Clinical immunologists treat patients for diseases of the immune system.

Immunologists may study or treat either human or animal patients. They are always on the look out for new ways to
improve the body’s defenses and cure diseases. They may work in biomedical research, healthcare, agriculture or environmental monitoring.

Areas of Specialisation

  • Clinical immunology
  • Developmental immunology
  • Experimental immunology
  • Nutritional immunology
  • Reproductive immunology
  • Transplantation immunology

What do I need to study?

At CSEC and CAPE: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics

There are different paths to becoming an immunologist depending on which area one wishes to work. A medical degree followed by postdoctoral training in immunology is needed for a physician in immunology. A career in research will require a doctoral degree in immunology after gaining an undergraduate degree in a life science field such as biology, microbiology or biochemistry.

What skills and traits do I need?

  • Scientific curiosity
  • Research skills
  • Desire to help people
  • Teamwork skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Communication and interpersonal skills

Famous Immunologists

  • Paul Ehrlich
  • Jean Dausset
  • Edward Jenner
  • Karl Landsteiner
  • Ian Frazer
  • Franz Köhler