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Gavin James Smith

Professor

Associate Research Professor, Duke Global Health Institute

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Dr Gavin Smith is a Professor in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore.

Prof Smith’s research integrates ideas from a number of scientific fields, including evolutionary genetics, virology, ecology, and infectious disease epidemiology. He conducts human and animal disease surveillance, virus isolation and characterisation (genetic and phenotypic), then conducts large-scale analyses to generate hypotheses that are tested in the laboratory using tissue culture and animal models.

Prof Smith is primarily interested in the roles played by mutation, natural selection, recombination/reassortment and host immune response on virus diversity within an individual, during transmission within a population and during inter-species transmission between hosts. While Prof Smith works mostly on influenza, he also studies a wide range of respiratory and enteric viruses. His research programme is directed at efforts to better understand viral disease ecosystems in Asia, specifically the animal-human interface, to inform and enhance disease control.

In the context of COVID-19, Prof Smith has been engaged in research on genetic changes in the SARS-COV-2 virus and their potential implications for the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My research is highly collaborative and involves working with clinicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists, ecologists, ornithologists, mathematicians and computer scientists to integrate diverse experimental approaches. The unifying theme of amy work is to understand the underlying processes of disease emergence. We conduct research that integrates ideas from a number of different fields including evolutionary genetics, virology, ecology, and infectious disease epidemiology. My team conducts human and animal disease surveillance; isolate and characterize (genetic and phenotypic) the pathogen; and then conduct large-scale analyses to generate hypotheses that are tested using tissue culture and animal models. I am primarily interested in the roles played by mutation, natural selection, recombination/reassortment and host immune response on virus diversity within an individual, during transmission within a population and during inter-species transmission between hosts. I work mostly on influenza but also study a wide range of respiratory viruses and emerging infectious diseases.

I have published over 100 peer-reviewed articles that are cited collectively more than 700 times per year, leading to an H index of 55 and ~17,000 lifetime citations. My contributions are internationally recognized and I have received numerous research awards including the Chris Baldock Prize for Early Career Researchers, Australia (2007); Outstanding Young Researcher, The University of Hong Kong, China (2009); DMID/NIAID/NIH USA Special Recognition Award “In honor of extraordinary work in H1N1 influenza research” (2010); NIAID/NIH USA Selected Science Advances 2009 awarded for Rapid characterization of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (2010); Research Output Prize 2009–10 and 2011–12, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (2010 and 2012); and he was appointed as Beijerinck Guest Chair, Beijerinck Virology Fund, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Kingdom of the Netherlands (2011).

Virk RK, Jayakumar J, Mendenhall IH, Moorthy M, Lam P, Linster M, Lim J, Lin C, Oon LEL, Lee HK, Koay ESC, Vijaykrishna D, Smith GJD, Su YCF (2020). Divergent evolutionary trajectories of influenza B viruses underlie their contemporaneous epidemic activity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 117: 619-628.

Mendenhall IH, Kerimbayev AA, Strochkov VM, Sultankulova KT, Kopeyev SK, Su YCF, Smith GJD, Oyrnbayev MB (2019). Discovery and characterization of novel bat coronavirus lineages from Kazakhstan. Viruses 11: 356.

Dovih P, Laing ED, Chen Y, Low DHW, Ansil BR, Yang X, Shi Z, Broder CC, Smith GJD, Linster M, Ramakrishnan U, Mendenhall IH (2019). Filovirus-reactive antibodies in humans and bats in Northeast India imply zoonotic spillover. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 13: e0007733.

Ali M, Yaqub T, Mukhtar N, Imran M, Ghafoor A, Shahid MF, Naeem M, Iqbal M, Smith GJD, Su YCF (2019). Avian Influenza A(H9N2) Virus in Poultry Worker, Pakistan, 2015. Emerging Infectious Diseases 25: 136-139.

Laing ED, Mendenhall IH, Linster M, Low DHW, Chen Y, Yan L, Sterling SL, Borthwick S, Neves ES, Lim JSL, Skiles M, Lee BPY, Wang L, Broder CC and Smith GJD. (2018). Serologic Evidence of Fruit Bat Exposure to Filoviruses, Singapore, 2011–2016. Emgerging Infectious Diseases, 24(1), 122-126. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2401.170401.

Mendenhall IH, Borthwick S, Neves ES, Low D, Linster M, Liang B, Skiles M, Jayakumar J, Han H, Gunalan V, Lee BPY, Okahara K, Wang LF, Maurer-Stroh S, Su YCF and Smith GJD. (2017) Identification of a Lineage D Betacoronavirus in Cave Nectar Bats (Eonycteris spelaea) in Singapore and an Overview of Lineage D Reservoir Ecology in SE Asian Bats. Transbound Emerg Dis, Dec;64(6):1790-1800. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12568. Epub 2016 Sep 16.

Bahl J, Pham TT, Hill NJ, Hussein IT, Ma EJ, Easterday BC, Halpin RA, Stockwell TB, Wentworth DE, Kayali G, Krauss S, Schultz-Cherry S, Webster RG, Webby RJ, Swartz MD, Smith GJ and Runstadler JA. (2016) Ecosystem Interactions Underlie the Spread of Avian Influenza A Viruses with Pandemic Potential. PLoS Pathog, May 11;12(5):e1005620. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005620. eCollection 2016 May.

Su YC, Bahl J, Joseph U, Butt KM, Peck HA, Koay ES, Oon LL, Barr IG, Vijaykrishna D and Smith GJ. (2015) Phylodynamics of H1N1/2009 influenza reveals the transition from host adaptation to immune-driven selection. Nat Commun, Aug 6;6:7952. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8952.

Vijaykrishna D, Holmes EC, Joseph U, Fourment M, Su YCF, Halpin R, Lee RTC, Deng Y-M, Gunalan V, Lin X, Stockwell T, Fedorova NB, Zhou B, Spirason N, Kühnert D, Boškováh V, Stadler T, Costai A, Dwyer DE, Huang QS, Jennings LC, Rawlinson W, Sullivan SG, Hurt A, Maurer-Stroh S, Wentworth D, Smith GJD and Barr IG. (2015) The contrasting pyhlodynamics of human influenza B viruses. Elife. 2015 Jan 16;4:e05055. doi: 10.7554/eLife.05055.

Bahl J, Nelson MI, Chan KH, Chen R, Vijaykrishna D, Halpin RA, Stockwell TB, Lin X, Wentworth DE, Ghedin E, Guan Y, Peiris JS, Riley S, Rambaut A, Holmes EC and Smith GJ. (2011) Temporally structured metapopulation dynamics and persistence of influenza A H3N2 virus in humans. Proc Natl Acad, Sci U S A. Nov 29;108(48):19359-64. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1109314108. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

Smith GJ, Vijaykrishna D, Bahl J, Lycett SJ, Worobey M, Pybus OG, Ma SK, Cheung CL, Raghwani J, Bhatt S, Peiris JS, Guan Y and Rambaut A. (2009) Origins and evolutionary genomics of the 2009 swine-origin H1N1 influenza A epidemic. Nature, Jun 25;459(7250):1122-5. doi: 10.1038/nature08182.