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Professor Geoffrey L Smith

Professor Geoffrey L Smith

Professor of Pathology

Division of Virology

Head of Department

Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow

Project: Poxvirus research group

Department of Pathology
University of Cambridge
Tennis Court Road

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 333692

Research themes




Research Interests

PhD studentship available


  1. How vaccinia virus exploits the microtubule network for transport within cells and how it spreads rapidly between cells by inducing the polymerisation of actin from the cell surface. To do this we exploit genetically engineered recombinant viruses tagged with specific fluorescent proteins and live video microscopy.
  2. How the virus evades the host innate immune response to infection by the expression of proteins that are secreted from the infected cell and bind chemokines, cytokines or interferons, or the expression of proteins within the infected cell that inhibit pro-inflammatory signalling cascades or the induction of apoptosis. This work includes study of the innate immune system itself and how the virus can be used to uncover new aspects of the innate immune system.
  3. The development of more immunogenic and safer vaccines by exploiting information obtained from projects 1 and 2.

The research group is housed within modern, well equipped laboratories in Tennis Court Road and is supported by programme grants from the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council. GLS is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow.

Group Leader

Professor Geoffrey L Smith FRS


Dr David C J Carpentier
Dr Jonas Dutra-Albarnaz
Dr Chen Gao
Dr Ka Fai Leung
Dr Yongxu Lu
Dr Mitchell A Pallett
Dr Hongwei Ren
Dr Evgeniya (Zhenya) Shmeleva
Dr Alice Torres

PhD students

Miss Delphine Depierreux
Mr Willian Gao
Mr Simon R Scutts
Dr RuiYao Zhang 

Research Assistants / Technicians

Mrs Rachel V Seear
Mr Michael S Hollinshead
Miss Ana Moldoveanu


Key Publications

  1. Doceul, V., Hollinshead, M., van der Linden, L. & Smith, G.L. (2010). Repulsion of superinfecting virions: a mechanism for rapid virus spread. Science, 327, 873-7.

  2. Ferguson, B.J., Mansur, D., Peters, N.E., Ren, H. & Smith, G.L (2012). DNA-PK is a DNA sensor for IRF-3 dependent innate immunity. eLife 1, 0047.

  3. Mansur, D.S., Maluquer de Motes, C., Unterholzner, L., Sumner, R.P., Ferguson, B.J., Ren, H., Strnadova, P., Bowie, A.G. & Smith, G.L. (2013). Poxvirus targeting of β-TrCP by molecular mimicry: a mechanism to inhibit NF-κB activation and promote immune evasion and virulence. PLoS Pathogens 9, e1003183.

  4. Mazzon, M., Peters, N.E., Loenarz, C., Krysztofinska, E., Ember, S.W.J., Ferguson, B.J., & Smith, G.L. (2013). A mechanism for the induction of a hypoxic response by vaccinia virus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 110, 12444-9.

  5. Peters, N.E., Ferguson, B.J., Mazzon, M., Fahy, A.S., Krysztofinska, E., Arribas-Bosacoma, R., Pearl, L.H., Ren, H. & Smith, G.L. (2013). A mechanism for the inhibition of DNA-PK-mediated DNA sensing by vaccinia virus. PLoS Pathogens. 9, e1003649.

  6. Carpentier, D.C.J., Gao, W.N.D., Ewles, H., Morgan, G.W. & Smith, G.L. (2015). Vaccinia virus protein complex F12/E2 interacts with kinesin light chain isoform 2 to engage the kinesin-1 motor complex. PLoS Pathogens. 11, e1004723.

  7. Strnadova, P., Ren, H., Valentine, R., Mazzon, M., Brierley, I. & Smith, G.L. (2015). Inhibition of translation initiation by protein 169: a vaccinia virus strategy to compromise innate and adaptive immunity and alter virus virulence. PLoS Pathogens. 11, e1005151.

  8. Stuart, J.H., Sumner, R.P., Lu, Y., Snowden, J.S. & Smith, G.L. (2016). Vaccinia virus protein C6 inhibits type I IFN signaling in the nucleus and binds to the transactivation domain of STAT2. PLoS Pathogens. 12, e1005955.