Dr Gavin Smith is the Programme Director (Interim) and 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 my work is to understand the underlying processes of disease emergence and the interaction between host and pathogen. 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; isolates and characterizes the pathogen; and then conducts large-scale analyses to generate hypotheses that are tested using tissue culture and animal models. I work mostly on influenza but also study a wide range of respiratory viruses and emerging infectious diseases. Another important part of my work is engaging with scientists across Asia to assist in developing local research and technical capacity for disease detection, prevention and control.
Selected recent publication are listed below while a full list is available in my Google Scholar profile.
Linster M, Mah MG, Low DHW, Yan Z, Jayakumar J, Samsudin F, Wong FY, Bond PJ, Mendenhall IH, Su YCF, Smith GJD (2021). Spike independent replication of coronavirus in bat cells. bioRxiv (https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.09.18.460924).
Li YT, Su YCF, Smith GJD (2021). H5Nx viruses emerged during the suppression of H5N1 virus populations in poultry. Microbiology Spectrum (https://doi.org/10.1128/Spectrum.01309-21).
Young BE, Fong SW, Chan YH, Mak TM, Ang LW, Anderson DE, Lee CYP, Amrun SN, Lee B, Goh YS, Su YCF, Wei WE, Kalimuddin S, Chai LYA, Pada SK, Tan SY, Sun L, Parthasarathy P, Chen YYC, Barkham T, Lin RTP, Maurer-Stroh S, Leo YS, Wang LF, Renia L, Lee VJ, Smith GJD, Lye DC, Ng LFP (2020). Effects of a major deletion in the SARS-CoV-2 genome on the severity of infection and the inflammatory response: an observational cohort study. The Lancet (https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31757-8).
Su YCF, Anderson DE, Young BE, Linster M, Zhu F, Jayakumar J, Zhuang Y, Kalimuddin S, Low JGH, Tan CW, Chia WN, Mak TM, Octavia S, Chavatte JM, Lee RTC, Pada SK, Tan SY, Sun L, Yan GZ, Maurer-Stroh S, Mendenhall IH, Leo YS, Lye DC, Wang LF, Smith GJD (2020). Discovery and genomic characterization of a 382-nt deletion in ORF7b and ORF8 during the early evolution of SARS-CoV-2. mBio (https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01610-20).
Li YT, Chen CC, Chang AM, Chao DY, Smith GJD (2020). Co-circulation of both low and highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 viruses in current poultry epidemics in Taiwan. Virus Evolution (https://doi.org/10.1093/ve/veaa037).
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 (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1916585116).