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Research interests

Professor Smith’s research interests relate to how bacteriophages alter bacterial physiology, phenotype and bacterial community structure through chromosomal integration, subversion of cell function, or during active infection and cell lysis.  His group uses lab, multi-omic and bioinformatics based approaches to determine the physiological impact of lysogeny or lytic infection on the host bacterium and the surrounding microbiota in clinical and environmental settings.  His groups research aims are to offer an insight into the modulation of microbial communities and how phages play a role in bacterial/community selection and evolution.

All research is heavily linked to genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics and linked to a range of techniques including; molecular, protein, bioinformatics, microbiological and virological based techniques to study; virus-host interactions; phage genomics; identification of phage encoded genes that provide positive selection for the infected bacterial host and seasonal epidemiology versus virus genotype. 

Professor Smith is the academic lead and director for the DNA sequencing research facility at Northumbria University, NU-OMICS. This is an outfacing service that is linked to both academic and industrially linked DNA sequencing projects.

Biography

Darren Smith is a Professor of Bacteriophage Biology within the Department of Applied Biology, Cellular and Molecular Sciences/Microbiology Group. He graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BSc in Microbiology in 2000. After a 1.5 years working at Applied Biosystems he spent the following 7.5 years completing both a PhD (2005) and Post-Doctoral research in the laboratory of Alan McCarthy, Heather Allison and Jon Saunders studying the biology of Shiga toxin encoding bacteriophages.

Prior to joining Northumbria University, Dr Smith worked as a postdoctoral research associate with Professor Andrew Owen’s, University of Liverpool HIV pharmacology group in collaboration with Professor Steve Rannard focussing the impact of nanoformulation on highly active antiretroviral therapy drugs used in the treatment of HIV infection.   These studies included drug delivery, cellular accumulation and transcellular gut permeability  models.

Education/Academic qualification

Microbiology, PhD

30 Jun 200531 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Jun 2005

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