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Geoffrey L. Smith

Geoffrey Smith
Born (1955-07-23) 23 July 1955 (age 63)[1]

Geoffrey Lilley Smith (born 1955)[1] FRS FMedSci FRSB[2][3] is a British virologist and medical research authority in the area of Vaccinia virus and the family of Poxviruses.[4] Since 1 October 2011 he is Head of the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge[3][5] and a Principal Research Fellow of the Wellcome Trust.[6] Before that, he was Head of the Department of Virology at Imperial College London.[7][8]


Smith was educated at the Bootham School[1] in York and completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Leeds in 1977. In 1981 he was awarded a PhD in Virology[9] for research completed at the National Institute for Medical Research.[10][11][12][13]

Career and research

Between 1981 and 1984, while he was working in the United States under the National Institutes of Health,[14] Smith developed and pioneered the use of genetically engineered live vaccines.[15] Between 1985 and 1989 he lectured at the University of Cambridge.[11] During 2002 Smith sequenced a strain of Camelpox showing how close it was to human Smallpox.[16]

Prior to 2002, he was based at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford.[4][11][17] Between 1988 and 1992 his work was funded by the Jenner Fellowship from The Lister Institute;[18] he became a governor of the Institute in 2003.[19][20]

Smith was editor-in-chief of the Journal of General Virology[20] up until 2008 and chairs the World Health Organisation's Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research.[21][22][23] In 2009 Smith was elected as one of the founding members of the new European Academy of Microbiology and the following year was elected as a corresponding member of the Gesellschaft für Virologie.[24] Until 2011 he was the Head of the Department of Virology at Imperial College London.[2][25] As of 2011 Smith became president of the International Union of Microbiological Societies.[26][10]

Andrew H. Wyllie had been the previous holder of the Head of the Department of Pathology at Cambridge until retirement in September 2011.[27]


Awards and honours

In 2002, Smith was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2003, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[4][28] and in 2005 was awarded the Feldburg Foundation Prize for his work on poxviruses.[29] In 2011 he was elected as a fellow of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.[30][31] In June 2012 Smith was awarded the 2012 GlaxoSmithKline International Member of the Year Award by the American Society for Microbiology.[13]

Personal life

His maternal grandfather was Ralph Lilley Turner,[citation needed] director of the School of Oriental Studies and a philologist of Indian languages.


  1. ^ a b c SMITH, Prof. Geoffrey Lilley. Who's Who. 2006 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  closed access publication – behind paywall (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b "Professor Geoffrey L Smith". Contact details. Imperial College London. Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2008. Professor Geoffrey L Smith FRS, FMedSci, FRSB, Wellcome Principal Research Fellow and Chair of Dept: Division of Investigative Science 
  3. ^ a b "Elections". Vacancies, appointments, etc. Cambridge University Reporter. CXLI No 22. The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012. Professor Geoffrey Lilley Smith, M.A., CHR, BSc (Hons), University of Leeds, PhD, CNAA, M.A., Oxford, FRS, FSBiol, FMedSci, Professor of Virology, Imperial College London, and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, elected Professor of Pathology with effect from 1 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Anon (2003). "Professor Geoffrey Smith FMedSci FRS". London: Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 

  5. ^ "Two University Lectureships in Virology and Innate Immunity – Department of Pathology". University of Cambridge. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012. Following the appointment of Professor Geoffrey Smith FRS as Head of Department and Professor of Pathology from 1 October 2011 [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Society for General Microbiology (2004). Gillespie, Stephen H.; Smith, Geoffrey L.; Osbourn, Anne, eds. Microbe-vector interactions in vector-borne diseases (Symposium). Cambridge University Press. p. Back Cover. ISBN 978-0-521-84312-6. 
  7. ^ "Warning over smallpox relative". BBC News. 17 April 2002. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Should the US and Russia destroy their smallpox stocks?". BBC News. 16 May 2011. Professor Geoffrey Smith, from Imperial College London … led a review of the state of scientific research on behalf of the WHO 
  9. ^ Smith, Geoffrey Lilley (1981). Replication of the influenze virus genome (PhD thesis). Council for National Academic Awards. 
  10. ^ a b Geoffrey L. Smith's Entry at ORCID
  11. ^ a b c Binns, Matthew M.; Smith, Geoffrey L. (27 May 1992). "The Editors". Recombinant Poxviruses. CRC Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-8493-6179-1. Retrieved 5 February 2009. Reader in Bacteriology, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford ... ... in 1985 he returned to the U.K. to a lectureship in Virology in the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge.  ... in 1989 to a Readership in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford. 
  12. ^ "Who's been here | Science and technology". University of Leeds. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009. Professor Geoffrey Smith FRS, Biochemistry and Microbiology, 1977 
  13. ^ a b Hogan, Garth (6 June 2012). "2012 GlaxoSmithKline International Member of the Year Award Laureate". American Society for Microbiology. Retrieved 12 June 2012. [dead link]
  14. ^ Schmeck Jr., Harold M. (19 October 1983). "A Herpes Vaccine Effective in Mice". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "Notes to Editors. Speakers' biographies". Are cures for diseases dangerous weapons? (Press release). ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum. 2 April 2007. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2009. Smith … is the Head of the Department of Virology at Imperial College London. As a postdoctoral fellow in Bernard Moss's laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, USA (1981–84) he developed Vaccinia virus as an expression vector and pioneered the use of genetically engineered viruses as live vaccines 
  16. ^ Coghlan, Andy; Mackenzie, Debora (17 April 2002). "Fear over camelpox as bioweapon". New Scientist. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "(WO/1998/037217) A Soluble Vaccinia Virus Protein that Binds Chemokines". World Intellectual Property Organization. 27 August 1998. 
  18. ^ "Former Fellows of the Lister Institute". The Lister Institute for Preventive Medicine. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  19. ^ "Organisation". The Lister Institute. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  20. ^ a b "Professor Geoffrey L Smith". Professional Activities. Imperial College. Archived from the original on 14 July 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  21. ^ "Report of the Ninth Meeting" (PDF). WHO Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research. World Health Organisation. 30 November 2007. p. 8. Retrieved 23 January 2009. The Advisory Committee then elected Professor Geoffrey Smith as chairman 
  22. ^ Connor, Steve (21 May 2014). "Health experts to vote on whether to destroy the last few samples of smallpox". Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2015. Professor Geoffrey Smith of Cambridge University, who chairs the WHO's advisory committee on variola virus research, said that he is personally in favour of destroying the virus but that some nations still want the decision deferred until further research has been done. 
  23. ^ Stockton, Nick (1 May 2014). "The last-ditch effort to save smallpox research". Quartz. Retrieved 23 March 2015. "My view is that [the drugs] are pretty much done," Dr. Geoffrey Smith of Cambridge University in England told Quartz. 
  24. ^ "Geoffrey L. Smith". Speakers. Tromsø: GenØk – Centre for Biosafety. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  25. ^ "Cell 'surfing' aids virus spread". BBC News. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  26. ^ "Executive Board 2011–2014". International Union of Microbiological Societies. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  27. ^ Cambridge Fund for the Prevention of Disease; Department of Pathology (21 February 2012). Graves, Nicola, ed. "Welcome Professor Geoffrey L Smith, FRS" (PDF). Pathology News. University of Cambridge (3): 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  28. ^ Curtis, Polly (19 May 2003). "Royal Society names nine women fellows". The Guardian. Included in this year's fellows are Professor Geoffrey Smith, known for his research on a smallpox vaccine. 
  29. ^ "Geoffrey Smith wins Feldburg Foundation Prize". Imperial College London. 13 January 2005. Archived from the original on 24 September 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  30. ^ "Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Smith". List of Members. Leopoldina. Retrieved 22 September 2014. Year of election: 2011 
  31. ^ "13 neue Leopoldina-Mitglieder erhalten ihre Urkunden" (Press release). Leopoldina. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2014. Die neuen Leopoldina-Mitglieder gehören der Klasse II an, die die Disziplinen der Lebenswissenschaften vereinigt.