Dr. Lucy Smyth
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Lecturer in Biomedical Science
I joined Salford University as lecturer in Biomedical Science in 2010 where I now lead research on respiratory disease and aspects of drug development for leukaemia.
As Programme lead for the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) accredited degree in Biomedical Science (undergraduate honours) I enjoy bringing clinical aspects to both teaching and research. I am passionate about ensuring the course curriculum is contemporary by co-developing it with external partners and leading employers in the field.
Myself and the Biomedical Science programme team are proud to release a new Biomedical Science apprenticeship degree for suitable biomedical scientist trainees, making Salford University one of the very first in the UK to bring educational opportunities into the workplace in a structured apprentice degree format.
One goal of the programme is to share key skills and expertise with students so they too can better understand pathological processes in disease, and become the next generation of highly employable research / diagnostic scientists.
Prior to this I worked with respiratory physicians and research scientists in the University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM) North West Lung Centre (NWLC) Labs and the Medicines Evaluation Unit (MEU). Research characterized the pathology of lung tissue in respiratory diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Pharmacological studies characterized the action of novel therapeutic drugs; contributing to drug development for COPD treatments. My time here was had multifaceted roles including lab management, clinical studies, clinical trials, and collaborative work with industry.
As a mid-stage postdoctoral scientist I was based at Paterson Institute for Cancer Research undertaking clinical studies contributing to HPV vaccine development for cervical cancer prevention. My work also contributed to immune vaccine development for the oncofetal antigen, 5T4, a key cancer treatment target being pursued in current clinical trials.
Early stage post-doctoral work was at Sunderland and Newcastle Universities and focused on understanding the immunological mechanisms that occur during lung transplant rejection and how these may be reversed to improve organ recipient survival.
I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield to study the role of mast cells in allergic disease in the absence of IgE to explain a mechanism of why some people may be more sensitive to our environment than others. This study was the initiation of my passion for researching respiratory disease and my published career in lung immunology. Prior to this was a Masters degree in Immunology & Immunogenetics at Manchester University and I started my science career at Salford University with a BSc hons in Biological + Biochemical Science.
It is a privilege to now be leading teaching and research at the university to which I owe so much.
Areas of research
Respiratory, Inflammation, Disease, Fibrosis, Leukemia
I am Programme Lead and lecturer in Biomedical Science in the School of Environment & Life Sciences (ELS). I was a key developer of the newly released Biomedical Science honours degree (Pathology lab based).
My lung and cancer immunology research underpins and informs ELS teaching that is showcased through delivery of modules in the biosciences area. I lead three modules: Advances in Pathophysiology, Human Physiology and Professional Skills. I contribute to many more including final year research projects, Immunology and Pathophysiology,
Prior to taking on the programme lead role I led the suite of Bioscience Placements for ELS including those based in IBMS pathology labs in the NHS. Bioscience placements are a key feature in ELS programmes providing students 9-12 months laboratory research experience in a professional environment to subsequently graduate with ‘BSc Hons with Professional Studies’.
Our records show excellent employment rates for placement student graduates, many of whom go onto PhDs, research positions or even postgraduate entry to medicine. I have extensive clinical links providing ongoing placement opportunities including the University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM), Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), Wigan Hospital and Oldham Royal Hospital.
I was Admissions Tutor for the ELS Biomedicine suite of programmes including Biomedical Science, Pharmaceutical Science and Biochemistry. I contributed to recruiting and welcoming hundreds of student applicants over the course of 5 years in post.
I lead in two primary areas of research:
1) Fibrotic and inflammatory processes in lung disease; (COPD). My lab team investigate mechanisms of dysregulated cell biology when normal lung repair processes go wrong. Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition is a process of fibroblast hyperplasia contributing to airway obstruction and clinical collaborations allow access to primary human patient lung tissue to evaluate biomarker expression patterns linked with this condition. This work aims to develop a mechanism of reversing fibrosis which would offer hope to patients with devastating fibrotic lung disease.
2) Drug development for leukaemia therapy. Funded work from a charity for research into childhood cancer, Kidscan, is researching actions of shellfish isolates to develop a novel and potent anti-tumour drug. Our findings indicate isolates are potent to tumour cells while remaining relatively inactive on normal human lymphocytes, a significant progression to their future use in the clinic.
My research is also quite broad via collaborations with numerous colleagues in ELS and beyond, including:
- Studies that characterise blood biomarkers linked with patient survival and mortality in trauma Injury patients. This is an NIHR adopted study involving clinical teams at the MRI and Salford Royal Hospitals.
- Dementia studies including collaboration with the Manchester Brain bank
- Toxoplasma studies in the lung
- Steroid receptor expression and signalling in the lung
- PhD: Mast Cell Activation events in the absence of IgE sensitization in allergic disease. (University of Sheffield)
- MSc: Immunology & Immunogenetics (University of Manchester)
- BSc: Biological & Biochemical Science
- FHEA: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy FHEA
- ILM: Institute of Leadership & Management L5
- British Thoracic Society
- British Society for Immunology
- British Association for Lung Research
- European Respiratory Society
- Manchester University General Assembly Alumni member
- Salford University PARP panel member
- Salford University Academic Audit committee member
- Salford University ICZ programme reviewer