Professor Derek Smith

Professor of Infectious Disease Informatics at Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Professor of Infectious Disease Informatics, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Dr. Derek Smith is Professor of Infectious Disease Informatics in the Zoology Department at Cambridge University. He is also a research scientist in the Department of Virology at Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, Senior Research Fellow at the U.S. National Institutes of Health Fogarty Intl. Center, and a member of the WHO committee that chooses the composition of the influenza vaccine, and is also involved in vaccine strain selection for other human and non-human pathogens.

Dr. Smith’s research is focused on how pathogens evolve, to what extent this evolution is predictable, and determining public and animal health measures against such ever-changing pathogens. He is using a new mathematical method called antigenic cartography to study the phenotypic evolution of influenza viruses and other rapidly evolving pathogens. This work has direct application to basic questions in evolution as well as immediate application in, such as the selection of viral strains for use in vaccines. He received a United States National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award in 2005 for his work on Antigenic Cartography, a method that enables detailed study of pathogen evolution.