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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr 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. 

Dr Smith is the academic lead for the DNA sequencing research facility at Northumbria University, NU-OMICS that is linked to both academic and industrially linked DNA sequencing projects.


Dr Smith is an Associate Professor in 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 for 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 completed his postdoctoral research in Professor Andrew Owen’s group, Liverpool HIV pharmacology group, University of Liverpool, in collaboration with Professor Steve Rannard’s group studying the impact of nanoformulation on highly active antiretroviral therapy drugs used in the treatment of HIV infection.   These studies have included drug delivery, cellular accumulation and transcellular permeability models.

Education/Academic qualification

Microbiology, PhD

30 Jun 200531 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Jun 2005


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  • Assessing transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 in England

    Volz, E., Mishra, S., Chand, M., Barrett, J. C., Johnson, R., Geidelberg, L., Hinsley, W. R., Laydon, D. J., Dabrera, G., O’Toole, Á., Amato, R., Ragonnet-Cronin, M., Harrison, I., Jackson, B., Ariani, C. V., Boyd, O., Loman, N. J., McCrone, J. T., Gonçalves, S., Jorgensen, D. & 35 others, Myers, R., Hill, V., Jackson, D. K., Gaythorpe, K., Groves, N., Sillitoe, J., Kwiatkowski, D. P., Koshy, C., Ash, A., Wise, E., Moore, N., Mori, M., Cortes, N., Lynch, J., Kidd, S., Fairley, D. J., Curran, T., McKenna, J. P., Adams, H., Fraser, C., The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, Smith, D. L., Bashton, M., Young, G. R., Nelson, A., McCann, C. M., Yew, W. C., Jones, H., Flaxman, S., Ratmann, O., Bhatt, S., Hopkins, S., Gandy, A., Rambaut, A. & Ferguson, N. M., 13 May 2021, In: Nature. 593, 7858, p. 266-269 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    104 Citations (Scopus)
  • Changes in symptomatology, reinfection, and transmissibility associated with the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7: an ecological study

    The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, 1 May 2021, In: The Lancet Public Health. 6, 5, p. e335-e345

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    7 Downloads (Pure)
  • Changing composition of SARS-CoV-2 lineages and rise of Delta variant in England

    The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, Mishra, S., Mindermann, S., Sharma, M., Whittaker, C., Mellan, T. A., Wilton, T., Klapsa, D., Mate, R., Fritzsche, M., Zambon, M., Ahuja, J., Howes, A., Miscouridou, X., Nason, G. P., Ratmann, O., Semenova, E., Leech, G., Sandkühler, J. F., Rogers-Smith, C. & 16 others, Vollmer, M., Unwin, H. J. T., Gal, Y., Chand, M., Gandy, A., Martin, J., Volz, E., Ferguson, N. M., Bhatt, S., Brauner, J. M., Flaxman, S., Bashton, M., Smith, D., Nelson, A., Young, G. & McCann, C., 1 Sep 2021, In: EClinicalMedicine. 39, 9 p., 101064.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    2 Citations (Scopus)
  • Circulating SARS-CoV-2 spike N439K variants maintain fitness while evading antibody-mediated immunity

    The ISARIC4C Investigators, The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, Thomson, E. C., Rosen, L. E., Shepherd, J. G., Spreafico, R., da Silva Filipe, A., Wojcechowskyj, J. A., Davis, C., Piccoli, L., Pascall, D. J., Dillen, J., Lytras, S., Czudnochowski, N., Shah, R., Meury, M., Jesudason, N., De Marco, A., Li, K., Bassi, J. & 38 others, O'Toole, A., Pinto, D., Colquhoun, R. M., Culap, K., Jackson, B., Zatta, F., Rambaut, A., Jaconi, S., Sreenu, V. B., Nix, J., Zhang, I., Jarrett, R. F., Glass, W. G., Beltramello, M., Nomikou, K., Pizzuto, M., Tong, L., Cameroni, E., Croll, T. I., Johnson, N., Di Iulio, J., Wickenhagen, A., Ceschi, A., Harbison, A. M., Mair, D., Ferrari, P., Smollett, K., Sallusto, F., Carmichael, S., Garzoni, C., Nichols, J., Galli, M., Robertson, D. L., Snell, G., Bashton, M., Smith, D., Nelson, A. & Young, G., 4 Mar 2021, In: Cell. 184, 5, p. 1171-1187.e20

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    118 Citations (Scopus)
    235 Downloads (Pure)
  • CLIMB-COVID: continuous integration supporting decentralised sequencing for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance

    The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, Nicholls, S. M., Poplawski, R., Bull, M. J., Underwood, A., Chapman, M., Abu-Dahab, K., Taylor, B., Colquhoun, R. M., Rowe, W. P. M., Jackson, B., Hill, V., O’Toole, Á., Rey, S., Southgate, J., Amato, R., Livett, R., Gonçalves, S., Harrison, E. M., Peacock, S. J. & 9 others, Aanensen, D. M., Rambaut, A., Connor, T. R., Loman, N. J., Bashton, M., Smith, D., Nelson, A., Young, G. & McCann, C., Dec 2021, In: Genome Biology. 22, 1, 21 p., 196.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

    Open Access