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Katherine Smith   FHEA PhD (Cantab) ARCS BSc

Dr Katherine Smith

FHEA PhD (Cantab) ARCS BSc

Lecturer

School of Biosciences

Email
SmithK28@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29208 74303
Campuses
Sir Martin Evans Building, Room W/2.05, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I am a Lecturer in Biomedicine in the School of Biosciences. I am interested in the impact of pathogen-driven immune-regulation on inflammatory disorders, particularly the interaction between helminth parasite infection and cancer.  My interests extend to how other risk factors for cancer, such as diet, influence host immune responses, metabolism and the gut microbiota.

My group is linked with the Microbiomes, Microbes and Informatics (MMI) group within the Cardiff School of Biosciences.

I hold an Honorary Research Associate position at the University of Cape Town, South Africa

I am also a Cardiff University Education Fellow

You can also find our publication information on ResearchGate. Please, do not hesitate to follow me on Twitter.

Publication

2024

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2014

2010

Articles

Research

I am interested in how intestinal pathogens, such as parasitic helminths, influence important inflammatory diseases, like cancer. The interaction between parasite infection and cancer is particularly important in low- and middle- income countries, where infectious disease is thought to result in over 1/3 of cancers, and where the incidence of all cancers is increasing exponentially. Our aim is to make use of our knowledge of host immune responses to helminth infection in order to control inflammatory disease and anti-parasite immunity.

Host Immune Response

Infection with helminth parasites is associated with the regulation of several inflammatory disorders including airway inflammation, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. In some situations, helminth-induced “immune-regulation” could be detrimental to the host by impairing vaccine efficacy, immunity to co-infections or anti-tumour responses. We are interested in understanding how helminths influence the inflammation associated with colorectal cancer (colitis), as well as cancer progression. In addition, we wish to understand how other risk factors for cancer, such as diet change, impact on disease. We are also interested in how gastrointestinal helminth infection can have a long-term and systemic impact on host immunity, including susceptibility to human papillomavirus infections and cervical cancer progression. We hope this work will help to identify new host pathways we can target, in order to reduce the incidence of cancer.

Helminth Immunity

Over 1.5 billion people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths (24% of the world’s population). Although drug treatment exists, there are no vaccines for disease, and as long as the helminth infection remains in the soil, people in endemic areas are at risk of infection and re-infection, throughout their lifetime. Morbidity following infection is associated with a high intensity of parasites and in our hands, is determined by the immune status of the host. We aim to target host responses to parasite infection, in order to modify helminth survival and limit host morbidity.

Teaching

I am a Cardiff University Teaching Fellow. 

Award of this fellowship is in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education.

I carry out a range of teaching from year 1 to integrated masters students, supervising PhD, Integrated MSc project students and Final Year project students. I am also a tutor for 1st-3rd year and PTY students and am a mentor for postgraduate students and staff.

My teaching experience includes contributions to:

  • BI3351: Contemporary Topics in Disease - Assessment Lead
  • BI3351: Contemporary Topics in Disease - Lectures and Exam Assessment
  • BI3155: Infection Biology and Epidemiology - Lectures and Exam Assessment
  • BI3155: Infection Biology and Epidemiology - Small Group Teaching and Coursework Assessment
  • BI4001: Integrated Masters - Advanced Research Project
  • BI4002: Integrated Masters - Advanced Research Methods
  • BI4003: Integrated Masters - Frontiers in Biosciences
  • BI3001: Biosciences Final Year Project
  • BI1001: Skills for Science
  • BI2231: Cell Biology - Lecture cover

 

Supervisions

I am interested in supervising MSc and PhD students in the areas of:

  • Helminth immunity
  • Immune-regulation
  • Cancer progression

Past projects

  • Determining the impact of Heligmosmoides polygyrus infection on the development of colitis. Brunette Katsandegwaza. PhD (University of Cape Town)
  • Cancer Cell Behaviour Following Parasite Exposure. Brittany-Amber Jacobs. MSc Med in Clinical Science and Immunology (University of Cape Town) 

Research themes

Specialisms

  • Host-parasite interactions
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cancer Initiation and Prevention