Dr Caroline Smith
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I am Course Leader for the Biological Sciences program and Learning and Teaching Coordinator for the Department of Life Sciences. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, I have an MA in Higher Education awarded by University of Westminster and I am a University of Westminster Teaching Fellow.
I am a Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry and lead modules in Molecular Biology. My undergraduate degree was in Medical Biochemistry (University of Surrey) and I studied for a collaborative PhD at Cornell University Medical College which was awarded by University of Surrey. I worked as a post-doctoral Research Fellow on a British Heart Foundation program grant at University College London for almost five years before starting at University of Westminster in 2005. I am the Local Ambassador for the Biochemical Society.
My introduction to teaching was at the University College London where I was a tutor in the Medical School for a couple of years. Since joining University of Westminster I completed the Certificate of Higher Education (2007) becoming a Fellow of the HEA in 2008 and a Senior Fellow in 2015. I was awarded an MA in Higher Education by University of Westminster in October 2015. I am currently the Departmental Learning and teaching Coordinator and represent our Department at the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee.
I was awarded a University of Westminster Teaching Fellowship in 2016.
I am the course leader for the Biological Science subjects (including the biotechnology, cancer biology, forensic biology, microbiology and molecular biology and genetics pathways). I am an academic personal tutor with experience of having been Senior Tutor. I currently lead the Level 5 Molecular Biology and Genetics module and level 6 DNA in Identity and Disease. I contribute teaching in biochemistry, cell signalling and molecular biology areas to a variety of undergraduate modules including Cancer Biology, Techniques in Forensic Biology, Molecular Therapeutics and Applications in Molecular and Applied Biosciences.
At postgraduate level I contribute to teaching in Drug Discovery and Clinical Chemistry. I have always believed that research should inform teaching and I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research projects. I am currently Director of Studies PhD supervisor for Nasrin Nuri A. Berruien, and I am actively involved with the Graduate Centre as an MPhil and PhD Chair and examiner.
Following on from a degree in Medical Biochemistry, during which I spent a fascinating Sandwich year working with Dr Steven Gross at Cornell University Medical College looking at the calcium and calmodulin regulation of nitric oxide synthases; I went back to New York to research transcriptional regulation of the GTP cyclohydrolase gene, which encodes for an important enzyme in tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis, an essential cofactor for the production of tyrosine, catecholamines and serotonin, as well as Nitric Oxide.
My PhD thesis "Pterin biosynthesis, binding and modulation of eNOS catalytic function" was examined and awarded by University of Surrey. As a post-doctoral research fellow at UCL I worked with Prof Patrick Vallance researching the pathophysiological effects of asymmetric dimethylarginine on the cardiovasculature. I am still interested how novel compounds can contribute to the control of this molecule.
University of Westminster has broadened my research horizons taking techniques I had expertise in and applying them to new areas. This is how I developed collaborations with KNUST, Kumasi Ghana through a project looking at how the incidence of malaria is influenced by alpha-thalassemia genotype and became interested in melanocortin signalling in the reproductive axis and the roles of cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma.
My main research interest remains with the endothelial cell biology within the cardiovascular system and I have worked on projects including investigating the effects of thiol isomerases on endothelial activation with Dr Gordge. I collaborate with my colleague Prof Ipsita Roy and combining knowledge of mammalian cells with polyhydroxyalkanoates for medical applications.
I’m delighted to have contributed to the doctoral supervision of these talented scientists:
Opoku-Okrah, Clement (2012) An investigation of the protective effect of alpha+-thalassaemia against severe Plasmodium falciparum amongst children in Kumasi, Ghana.
Basnett, Pooja (2014) Biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates, their novel blends and composites for biomedical applications.
Dowejko, Monika (2014) Characterization of MC3 and the other melancortin receptors (MC) in the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal system of the mouse.
Jenks, Andrew (2014) The role of cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma.
Most of my research fits within the Cell Communication Research Group, and I am our appointed tweeter (follow us @Cell_Comm_Group) but I support the Education Research group and collaborate with the Applied Biotechnology and Cancer Research Groups. I am the University of Westminster Local Ambassador for the Biochemical Society which exists to advance the molecular and cellular biosciences.
I am currently collaborating with Dr Sharron Rossiter, University of Hertfordshire, Dr Joanne Murray, University of Edinburgh and Dr Ian Bailey, University of Surrey, in addition to the prior-mentioned investigators. I have received funding from the Biochemical Society, Nuffield Society and joint funding with Drs Murray and Getting from Society for Endocrinology.
In 2016 we were recently awarded £915 Practical Skills Grant from Society of Endocrinology https://www.endocrinology.org/ for Nasrin Berruien (2nd Year PhD student) to learn a novel Protein-Fragment complementation Assay at University of Edinburgh to investigate the potential cross talk between Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and ghrelin within the gonadotrophs and the somatotrophs
In 2017 £400 Biochemical Society sponsored Events Grant Scheme for the University of Westminster iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team to host a 1 day UK meet up on Friday 17th August 2017.
British Pharmacological Society bursary to attend and present poster "In silico and in vitro approaches to develop Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 inhibitors". At "In silico and in vitro methods in modern drug discovery", University of Nottingham 24-25th April 2017