Professor Austin Smith

Director at Centre for Stem Cell Research, University of Cambridge

Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

As its Director, Professor Austin Smith drives the research of the centre which aims to characterise the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing the self-renewal and differentiation of multipotential embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells are defined by the ability both to produce identical daughter cells (self-renewal), and to produce progeny with more restricted fates (commitment and differentiation). An understanding of the molecular mechanisms which govern stem cell fate is of fundamental significance in cell and developmental biology, due to its potential biomedical applications. Professor Smith and his team are interacting with clinical scientists and bioindustry to facilitate uptake and use of stem cells in the study of disease mechanisms and for drug discovery.

Prior to joining the University of Cambridge, Professor Smith was the Group Leader at the Centre for Genome Research in Edinburgh, before being appointed its Director in 1996. Under his leadership the Centre became the first Institute for Stem Cell Research in the United Kingdom and he was awarded an MRC Research Professorship in 2003.

Professor Smith is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an elected member of EMBO, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.