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Douglas Michael Smith

Immunology, Cell Biology, Clinical Microbiology


Medical Technology Coordinator

Co-Chair, Pre-Professional Committee for the Healing Arts


B.S., Biology, St. Vincent College

M.S., Biology, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Ph. D., Molecular and Cell Biology, The Pennsylvania State University


(W) 814-393-2561


Office:  357 STC


Courses Taught

BIOL 111 Basic Biology

BIOL 155 Principles of Biology

BIOL 165 Principles of Biology Labatory

BIOL 224 Human Biology

BIOL 444/544 Immunology

BIOL 446/546 Pathogenic Microbiology

BIOL 450/550 Cell Physiology

Research interests:

Smith lab, led by biologist Dr. Doug Smith, involves over thirty graduate and undergraduate students investigating a variety of medically relevant problems. Students work with Smith and his collaborators over their career to become research scientists.  This work goes beyond bench skill acquisition and involves critical thinking (hypothesis generation, data analysis) and persuasive writing (grant funding) as well as an introduction to the entrepreneurial side of biotechnology.  Smith lab meets weekly to remain organized and discuss the latest experimental findings in the lab. Smith's goal is to have students get first hand experience of what their graduate program will be like before they get there.  While it is important to note the driving forces of Smith lab, the projects that students investigate in Smith lab are what entices them to begin an extraordinary extracurricular journey.


One Smith lab project has led to the discovery of a new kind of immunological protection against bacterial infections.  Currently, six students are involved in the experiments that will allow us to patent and market the active protein as a new kind of medication for infections caused by a subset of microorganisms known as Gram negative bacteria.  The protein, annexin 1, can be used in conjunction with antibiotics and works similarly to protective molecules called antibodies. 


A second exciting project in Smith lab is centered on developing new treatments for chronic urinary tract infections in women.  Experiments in the laboratory have identified a molecule made by men that prevents the invading bacteria from adhering to cells that line the bladder.  Using an artificial model of the bladder, students are working to purify and identify this molecule for use in treating these very common persistent infections and ultimately eliminate their recurrence. 


Smith lab also collaborates with a number of other laboratories to tackle medical and environmental problems.  Students on two projects involving the collaboration of fellow biologist Dr. Bill Barnes are investigating other forms of bacterial adherence that lead to undesirable ends.  These researchers are examining the conditions that optimize the building of bacterial communities on teeth that produce dental cavities and on contact lenses that cause eye infections.  The goal of these studies is to find new ways to prevent these bacteria from adhering to teeth and contact lenses. 


In collaboration with fellow biologist Dr. Kate Eggleton, students are studying the mechanism for how deadly human viruses like HIV and Epstein-Barr infect and instruct our cells to commit suicide.  To do this, students use a virus known as Blue Tongue Virus (BTV).   Students are able to work with BTV because it infects sheep and other ruminants (not people).  What makes this virus useful is that BTV kills cultured monkey kidney cells the same way the other viruses kill cells, by inducing them to die prematurely from within.  By studying the way BTV exerts its activity, students are helping to uncover how these deadly human viruses can be stopped.


In addition to the projects centered on Smith's expertise in infection and immunity, students also are investigating the use of autologous adult stem cells as medical treatments.  Smith lab is working with Dr. Larry Bering from the Chemistry department and local dentist Dr. Jim Rutkowski to find ways to accelerate replacement of bone tissue in the jaw for dental implants.  To do this, students have tested a variety of chemical signals that induce adult human mesenchymal stem cells to become osteoblasts, cells that form bone, more quickly.  In collaboration with Dr. Bill Barnes, several students are also attempting to identify ways to grow large numbers of adult hematopoietic stem cells outside the body for use in autologous bone marrow replacement therapy for a variety of diseases including leukemia.


Smith lab collaborates with local businesses and national networks as well.  In a partnership with Lee Stewart, owner and operator of Stewart Laboratories in Corsica, PA, students are investigating ways to develop new biofuels using CO2 emissions, human septage, and algae.  Researchers are also tracking the spread of antibiotic resistance genes among bacteria in our local Clarion River watershed by creating DNA fingerprints of the organisms to set up a national database much like PulseNet, a database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control, that monitors the spread of infectious microorganisms.  This work is also performed in collaboration with Dr. Bill Barnes.



Recent Publications: 

J.L, J.M. Thomas, C.L. Bering, J.L. Speicher, N.M. Radio, D.M. Smith, D.A. Johnson. 2008.  Analysis of a rapid, simple, and inexpensive technique used to obtain platelet-rich plasma for use in clinical practice. J Oral Implantol. 34(1):25-33.

J.L. Rutkowski, D.A. Johnson, and D.M. Smith.  2006.  Clinical Concerns of Alendronate Use. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (In Press).

X. Fan, B. Krahling, D.M. Smith, P. Williamson, and R.A. Schlegel.  2004.  Macrophage surface expression of annexins I and II in the phagocytosis of apoptotic lymphocytes. Molecular Biology of the Cell 6:2863-72.

S.J. Brown, H.M. Ochs, A.M. Sepan, K.E. Kalie, and D.M. Smith.  2002.  Annexin 1 Facilitates the Phagocytic Clearance of Gram-negative Bacteria and Apoptotic Neutrophils by Macrophages.  Molecular Biology of the Cell 13(s):399a.

D.M. Smith, Y.M. Janumyan, A.J. Reefer, and H.M. Ochs. 1999. New Roles for Annexins I, II, and IV in Phagocyte Function.  Molecular Biology of the Cell 10 (Suppl): 319a.

D.M. Smith, T.A. Martin, J.L. Parson, and J.L. Schmidt. 1998. Anti-Inflammatory Agents Alter the Ability of Annexins I, II, and IV to Change Locations in Stimulated Rat Peritoneal Cavity Neutrophils. Molecular Biology of the Cell 9 (Suppl): 378a. 

K.M. Sharrow, D.S. Baraniak, K.E. Eggleton, and D.M. Smith. 1996. Using GENEWORKS Data Bank Release 16 for Research Projects at the Undergraduate Level.    Molecular Biology of the Cell 7 (Suppl): 163a.

D.M. Smith, A. Baraniak, R. Jushchyshyn, J.L. Schmidt, and E.J. Zielinski. 1996. Biotechnology Initiative for Systemic Change in the Teaching of Science (BISCITS).  1996.  Molecular Biology of the Cell 7 (Suppl): 164a.

J.L. Schmidt, D.D. Zdobinski, L.A. Minich, and D.M. Smith. 1996. Cellular Localization of Annexin Proteins in Stimulated and Unstimulated Rat Neutrophils.  Molecular Biology of the Cell 7 (Suppl): 657a.

D.M. Smith, P.L. Williamson, and R.A. Schlegel.  1993.  Plasma Membrane Lipid Packing and LFA-1-Dependent Aggregation of Lymphocytes.  Journal of Cellular Physiology 156: 182-188.

W. Meikrantz, D.M. Smith, M.M. Sladicka, and R.A. Schlegel. 1991.  Nuclear Localization of an O-Glycosylated Protein Phosphotyrosine Phosphatase from Human Cells.  Journal of Cell Science 948: 303-307.