I am Assistant Head of the School of Life Sciences with responsibility for Curriculum Development and the Student Experience. I am a Biochemist and lead undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Molecular Biology. I am joint academic lead for the Antibiotics Undersea Quintin Hogg Trust funded project.
I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, have an MA in Higher Education (University of Westminster) and am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. I am a member of the Biochemical Society and British Pharmacological Society.
Following on from a BSc (Hons) degree in Medical Biochemistry (University of Surrey), during which I spent a fascinating Sandwich year working with Dr Steven Gross at Cornell University Medical College. I went back to New York to research GTP cyclohydrolase, 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.
Expanding upon endothelial cell signalling in the cardiovascular system to look at haemostatic regulation, Dr Gordge and I have investigated how thiol isomerases, including protein disulphide isomerase (PDI), influence fibrinolytic regulation at the endothelial surface. Inhibition of thiol isomerases reduces endothelial cell plasminogen activation, although not directly via tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).
University of Westminster has broadened my research horizons I developed collaborations with KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana through a project looking at the incidence of malaria and influence of alpha-thalassemia genotype.
I’m delighted to have contributed to the doctoral supervision of these talented scientists:
Clement Opoku-Okrah (2012) An investigation of the protective effect of alpha+-thalassaemia against severe Plasmodium falciparum amongst children in Kumasi, Ghana.
Pooja Basnett (2013) Biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates, their novel blends and composites for biomedical applications.
Monika Dowejko (2014) Characterization of MC3 and the other melancortin receptors (MC) in the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal system of the mouse.
Andrew Jenks (2014) The role of cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma.
Nasrin Nuri A. Berruien (2019) Effect of age and pregnancy on the murine melanocortin system in the female reproductive system.
I am currently collaborating with Dr Sharron Rossiter, University of Hertfordshire and Dr Joanne Murray, University of Edinburgh. I collaborate with the Tissue engineering and Cancer Research Groups. I have received funding from the Biochemical Society and Nuffield Society.
2016 - £915 Practical Skills Grant from Society of Endocrinology https://www.endocrinology.org/ for Nasrin Berruien to learn a novel Protein-Fragment complementation Assay at University of Edinburgh, Dr Joanne Murray, to investigate the potential cross talk between Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and ghrelin within the gonadotrophs and the somatotrophs
2017 - £400 Biochemical Society sponsored Events Grant Scheme for the University of Westminster iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team
2017 - British Pharmacological Society bursary to present "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 http://www.pa2online.org/abstracts/vol15issue1abst006.pdf
2015-2018 Quintin Hogg Trust £159000 to support development of Westminster based Labster simulations and evaluate their effectiveness in teaching
2016-2020 Quintin Hogg Trust £25000 to support student teams for International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM project)
2019-2021 Quintin Hogg Trust £24000 with Dr Linda Percy Antibiotics Undersea a student project investigating novel antimicrobials in marine bacteria
Pedagogical research: I am evaluating how virtual laboratory simulations influence student engagement and learning, peer-marking and streaming of laboratory classes. I have published findings and have presented at national and international HE teaching conferences. https://blog.labster.com/my-labster-experience-caroline-smith-westminster-university