|Year of election:||2011|
|Section:||Microbiology and Immunology|
CV Geoffrey Smith - English (PDF)
Main areas of research: Microbiology, virology, immunology, vaccinia virus, vaccines
Geoffrey L. Smith is a British microbiologist and virologist specialising in the area of poxviruses. His research examines the interaction of poxviruses with the infected host cell and the immune system, concentrating especially on the vaccinia virus (VACV) that was the vaccine used to eradicate smallpox. His research has enabled new vaccination concepts to be developed and provided important insights into how viruses evade the host innate immune response and cause disease.
VACV is a DNA‐virus that replicates in cytoplasm and encodes many proteins that suppress natural immunity. Smith discovered that the VACV expresses proteins that bind with interferons, cytokines and chemokines, which are molecules that cause the immune system to go into high gear after an infection. He was thus able to explain how the virus prevented itself from being halted. Moreover, Smith discovered that the family of poxviruses that includes variola and vaccinia utilises a specific mechanism for rapidly spreading to other cells.
His research activities have contributed to a better understanding of the way in which viruses multiply after having infected a cell and then spread to other cells and how they are able to overcome the body´s immune system in the process. These findings are important for developing better vaccines based on poxviruses.
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