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Prof Darren Smith


Department: Applied Sciences

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.

Darren Smith

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.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Addressing pandemic-wide systematic errors in the SARS-CoV-2 phylogeny, Hunt, M., Hinrichs, A., Anderson, D., Karim, L., Dearlove, B., Knaggs, J., Constantinides, B., Fowler, P., Rodger, G., Street, T., Lumley, S., Webster, H., Sanderson, T., Ruis, C., de Maio, N., Amenga-Etego, L., Amuzu, D., Avaro, M., Awandare, G., Ayivor-Djanie, R., Bashton, M., Batty, E., Bediako, Y., De Belder, D., Benedetti, E., Bergthaler, A., Boers, S., Campos, J., Carr, R., Cuba, F., Dattero, M., Dejnirattisai, W., Dilthey, A., Duedu, K., Endler, L., Engelmann, I., Francisco, N., Fuchs, J., Gnimpieba, E., Groc, S., Gyamfi, J., Heemskerk, D., Houwaart, T., Hsiao, N., Huska, M., Hölzer, M., Iranzadeh, A., Jarva, H., Jeewandara, C., Jolly, B., Joseph, R., Kant, R., Ki, K., Kurkela, S., Lappalainen, M., Lataretu, M., Liu, C., Malavige, G., Mashe, T., Mongkolsapaya, J., Montes, B., Mora, J., Morang’a, C., Mvula, B., Nagarajan, N., Nelson, A., Ngoi, J., da Paixão, J., Panning, M., Poklepovich, T., Quashie, P., Ranasinghe, D., Russo, M., San, J., Sanderson, N., Scaria, V., Screaton, G., Sironen, T., Sisay, A., Smith, D., Smura, T., Supasa, P., Suphavilai, C., Swann, J., Tegally, H., Tegomoh, B., Vapalahti, O., Walker, A., Wilkinson, R., Williamson, C., de Oliveira, T., Peto, T., Crook, D., Corbett-Detig, R., Iqbal, Z. 30 Apr 2024
  • COVID-19 risk mitigation in reopening mass cultural events: population-based observational study for the UK Events Research Programme in Liverpool City Region, Burnside, G., Cheyne, C., Leeming, G., Humann, M., Darby, A., Green, M., Crozier, A., Maskell, S., O'Halloran, K., Musi, E., Carmi, E., Khan, N., Fisher, D., Corcoran, R., Dunning, J., Edmunds, W., Tharmaratnam, K., Hughes, D., Malki-Epshtein, L., Cook, M., Roberts, B., Gallagher, E., Howell, K., Chand, M., Kemp, R., Boulter, M., Fowler, T., Semple, M., Coffey, E., Ashton, M., García-Fiñana, M., Buchan, I., Bashton, M., Smith, D., Nelson, A., Young, G. 1 Jan 2024, In: Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • Influence of maternal folate depletion on Art3 DNA methylation in the murine adult brain: potential consequences for brain and neurocognitive health, Kok, D., Saunders, R., Nelson, A., Smith, D., Ford, D., Mathers, J., McKay, J. 1 May 2024, In: Mutagenesis
  • Prevalence of persistent SARS-CoV-2 in a large community surveillance study, Ghafari, M., Hall, M., Golubchik, T., Ayoubkhani, D., House, T., MacIntyre-Cockett, G., Fryer, H., Thomson, L., Nurtay, A., Kemp, S., Ferretti, L., Buck, D., Green, A., Trebes, A., Lonie, L., Piazza, P., Studley, R., Rourke, E., Smith, D., Bashton, M., Nelson, A., Crown, M., McCann, C., Young, G., Santos, R., Richards, Z., Tariq, M., Cahuantzi, R., Barrett, J., Fraser, C., Bonsall, D., Walker, A., Lythgoe, K. 29 Feb 2024, In: Nature
  • The long and short of it: benchmarking viromics using Illumina, Nanopore and PacBio sequencing technologies, Cook, R., Brown, N., Rihtman, B., Michniewski, S., Redgwell, T., Clokie, M., Stekel, D., Chen, Y., Scanlan, D., Hobman, J., Nelson, A., Jones, M., Smith, D., Millard, A. 20 Feb 2024, In: Microbial genomics
  • Bacteriophage communities are a reservoir of unexplored microbial diversity in neonatal health and disease, Young, G., Nelson, A., Stewart, C., Smith, D. 1 Oct 2023, In: Current Opinion in Microbiology
  • Built environment microbiomes transition from outdoor to human-associated communities after construction and commissioning, Young, G., Sherry, A., Smith, D. 22 Sep 2023, In: Scientific Reports
  • Chronic supplementation of a multi-ingredient herbal supplement increases speed of cognitive task performance alongside changes in the urinary metabolism of dopamine and the gut microbiome in cognitively intact older adults experiencing subjective memory decline: a randomized, placebo controlled, parallel groups investigation, Wightman, E., Khan, J., Smith, E., Rolfe, V., Smith, D., Young, G., Cheung, W., Kennedy, D. 10 Oct 2023, In: Frontiers in Nutrition
  • Combining viral genomics and clinical data to assess risk factors for severe COVID-19 (mortality, ICU admission, or intubation) amongst hospital patients in a large acute UK NHS hospital Trust, Foxley-Marrable, M., D'Cruz, L., Meredith, P., Glaysher, S., Beckett, A., Goudarzi, S., Fearn, C., Cook, K., Loveson, K., Dent, H., Paul, H., Elliott, S., Wyllie, S., Lloyd, A., Bicknell, K., Lumley, S., McNicholas, J., Prytherch, D., Lundgren, A., Graur, O., Chauhan, A., Robson, S., Bashton, M., Smith, D., Nelson, A., Young, G. 23 Mar 2023, In: PLoS One
  • Directions of change in intrinsic case severity across successive SARS-CoV-2 variant waves have been inconsistent, Pascall, D., Vink, E., Blacow, R., Bulteel, N., Campbell, A., Campbell, R., Clifford, S., Davis, C., da Silva Filipe, A., El Sakka, N., Fjodorova, L., Forrest, R., Goldstein, E., Gunson, R., Haughney, J., Holden, M., Honour, P., Hughes, J., James, E., Lewis, T., MacLean, O., McHugh, M., Mollett, G., Nyberg, T., Onishi, Y., Parcell, B., Ray, S., Robertson, D., Seaman, S., Shabaan, S., Shepherd, J., Smollett, K., Templeton, K., Wastnedge, E., Wilkie, C., Williams, T., Thomson, E., Bashton, M., Smith, D., Nelson, A., Young, G. 1 Aug 2023, In: Journal of Infection

  • Jennifer Le-Anne Coulson Longitudinal carriage of temperate phages of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and their role in the chronically infected non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis lungs. Start Date: 01/10/2022
  • Rui Nunes Dos Santos Isolation and classification of bacteriophages purified from maternal breast milk and determination of their role in bacterial community development. Start Date: 01/10/2022
  • Mariklairi Kiourkou Characterising the role and evolution of temperate bacteriophages in chronic respiratory infections of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients using their first isolate. Start Date: 01/10/2022
  • Onengiye Ogbanga Forensic Applications of the Microbiome for Post-mortem Interval Estimations and Human Profiling Start Date: 30/06/2022
  • Liberty Duignan The Temperate Bacteriophages of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Their Role in Chronic Lung Infection Start Date: 01/10/2016 End Date: 21/01/2022
  • Giles Holt Characterising the impact on bacterial physiology of phage infection and phage as a tool to support microbiota studies Start Date: 01/11/2013 End Date: 07/03/2019
  • Francesca Everest Characterising the Role and Evolution of Temperate Bacteriophages in Chronic Respiratory Infections Including Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis Start Date: 01/10/2012 End Date: 03/10/2016
  • Mohammad Tariq Characterising Temperate Bacteriophages Isolated from the Microbiota of Chronic Respiratory Disease Start Date: 01/10/2012 End Date: 20/04/2017
  • Saif Abraham Proposal for research into the role of bacteriophages in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in chronic respiratory disease Start Date: 01/10/2020 End Date: 23/06/2021

  • Microbiology PhD June 30 2005
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2014
  • Information not provided Society for General Microbiology (SGM) 2011

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