Dr Steven Smith
I am an immunologist with a background in cellular immunity, in particular the protective and disease-related roles of T-cells. Having obtained a B.Sc. in Medical Sciences from the University of Leeds, I carried out (and received my Ph.D. for) a project at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) Cancer Medicine Research Unit at St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, investigating the CD8 T-cell stimulating properties of a DNA vaccine encoding multiple, melanoma-associated epitopes. Following a post-doctoral position at the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research in which I examined the role of auto-reactive CD8 T-cells and T-cell regulation in the context of joint inflammation, I joined the group of Prof. Hazel Dockrell where I have been concerned with the cellular immune response to BCG vaccination and more generally with immune mechanisms that might provide protection against tuberculosis infection and disease.
My main teaching roles at LSHTM are as lecturer, practical class organiser and personal tutor for the London-based MSc in Immunology of Infectious Diseases. I am also the deputy module organiser for the Immunology of Infection and Vaccines module of the distance learning programme. I have delivered lectures at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (Entebbe, Uganda) on the TB section of the Makerere/UVRI Infection and Immunity ResearchTrainingProgramme short course, “Immunology in the Tropics”.
I am currently part of Prof Hazel Dockrell's team, looking at immune responses to BCG vaccination. My work is funded by the European Union as part of two large consortium projects. The "Correlates of Protection" work package of the TBVAC2020 project involves the use of a variety of state-of-the-art immunological investigations (multi-parameter flow cytometry, multiplex bead array assays and mycobacterial growth inhibition assay) to investigate the infant immune response to BCG vaccination. Although BCG is known to protect infants from childhood forms of tuberculosis, the mechanisms of immunity are unclear. Characteristics of the immune response, as measured by these techniques, may act as a biomarkers of protection against TB. Identifying such biomarkers, as well as aiding our understanding of BCG, will also facilitate the development of improved vaccines for tuberculosis.
EURIPRED is also a multi-centre EU consortium project aimed at improving access of vaccine developers to knowledge and expertise within the European vaccine community. My work at LSHTM is focussed on developing and harmonising with other groups, the best, most consistent and transferable assays for the measurement of novel vaccine induced immune responses in trial settings worldwide.
I maintain an ongoing research interest in the environmental (including infection-related, vaccine-related and nutritional) factors that influence both innate and acquired immune responses to BCG vaccination and tuberculosis infection.