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Prof Darren Smith


Department: Applied Sciences

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.

Darren Smith


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

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Establishment and lineage dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in the UK, Du Plessis, L., Mccrone, J., Zarebski, A., Hill, V., Ruis, C., Gutierrez, B., Raghwani, J., Ashworth, J., Colquhoun, R., Connor, T., Faria, N., Jackson, B., Loman, N., O’toole, Á., Nicholls, S., Parag, K., Scher, E., Vasylyeva, T., Volz, E., Watts, A., Bogoch, I., Khan, K., Aanensen, D., Kraemer, M., Rambaut, A., Pybus, O., Bashton, M., Smith, D., Young, G., Nelson, A. 8 Jan 2021, In: Science
  • Evaluating the effects of SARS-CoV-2 Spike mutation D614G on transmissibility and pathogenicity, Volz, E., Hill, V., McCrone, J., Price, A., Jorgensen, D., O’Toole, Á., Southgate, J., Johnson, R., Jackson, B., Nascimento, F., Rey, S., Nicholls, S., Colquhoun, R., da Silva Filipe, A., Shepherd, J., Pascall, D., Shah, R., Jesudason, N., Li, K., Jarrett, R., Pacchiarini, N., Bull, M., Geidelberg, L., Siveroni, I., Goodfellow, I., Loman, N., Pybus, O., Robertson, D., Thomson, E., Rambaut, A., Connor, T., Bashton, M., Young, G., Smith, D. 7 Jan 2021, In: Cell
  • Acquisition and Development of the Extremely Preterm Infant Microbiota Across Multiple Anatomical Sites, Young, G., van der Gast, C., Smith, D., Berrington, J., Embleton, N., Lanyon, C. 1 Jan 2020, In: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
  • An integrated national scale SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance network, Smith, D., Bashton, M. 1 Jul 2020, In: The Lancet Microbe
  • The clinical and microbiological utility of inhaled aztreonam lysine for the treatment of acute pulmonary exacerbations of cystic fibrosis, Frost, F., Young, G., Wright, L., Miah, N., Smith, D., Winstanley, C., Walshaw, M., Fothergill, J., Nazareth, D. 21 Dec 2020, In: Journal of Cystic Fibrosis
  • The Impact of NOD2 Genetic Variants on the Gut Mycobiota in Crohn’s Disease Patients in Remission and in Individuals Without Gastrointestinal Inflammation, Nelson, A., Stewart, C., Kennedy, N., Lodge, J., Tremelling, M., Probert, C., Parkes, M., Mansfield, J., Smith, D., Hold, G., Lees, C., Bridge, S., Lamb, C. 29 Oct 2020, In: Journal of Crohn's and Colitis
  • YerA41, a Yersinia ruckeri Bacteriophage: Determination of a Non-Sequencable DNA Bacteriophage Genome via RNA-Sequencing, Leskinen, K., Pajunen, M., Vilanova, M., Kiljunen, S., Nelson, A., Smith, D., Skurnik, M. 5 Jun 2020, In: Viruses
  • Temperate bacteriophages from chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections show disease-specific changes in host range and modulate antimicrobial susceptibility, Tariq, M., Everest, F., Cowley, L., Wright, R., Holt, G., Ingram, H., Duignan, L., Nelson, A., Lanyon, C., Perry, A., Perry, J., Bourke, S., Brockhurst, M., Bridge, S., de Soyza, A., Smith, D. 27 Aug 2019, In: mSystems
  • Genome-based classification of micromonosporae with a focus on their biotechnological and ecological potential, Carro, L., Nouioui, I., Sangal, V., Meier-kolthoff, J., Trujillo, M., Montero-calasanz, M., Sahin, N., Smith, D., Kim, K., Peluso, P., Deshpande, S., Woyke, T., Shapiro, N., Kyrpides, N., Klenk, H., Göker, M., Goodfellow, M. 1 Dec 2018, In: Scientific Reports
  • Response: Commentary: Reducing Viability Bias in Analysis of Gut Microbiota in Preterm Infants at Risk of NEC and Sepsis, Young, G., Smith, D., Embleton, N., Berrington, J., Schwalbe, E., Cummings, S., van der Gast, C., Lanyon, C. 24 Oct 2018, In: Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology

PGR Supervision

  • Saif Abraham Start: 01/10/2020
  • Liberty Duignan Start: 01/10/2016
  • Giles Holt Characterising the impact on bacterial physiology of phage infection and phage as a tool to support microbiota studies Start: 01/11/2013

Research Themes and Scholarly 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.

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