Smith, Gillian


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1992 …2023

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Personal profile


Dr Smith is lead for cancer-themed teaching in the School of Medicine. She is Module Manager for final year (Level 4) undergraduate Biological and Biomedical Sciences modules in Cancer Biology (BS42007) and Cancer Pharmacology and Treatment (BS42027), and module lead and member of the postgraduate MRes Cancer Biology programme team. Together with clinical colleagues Dr Michelle Ferguson and Dr Jonathan Berg, she also leads the BMSc Genetics, Cancer and Personalised Medicine programme for intercalating medical students. She additionally regularly supervises Year 1 MBChB SSC students and is an experienced supervisor of both laboratory-based, data analysis and science communication projects for undergraduate and postgraduate science and medical students. 


Dr Smith graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry and PhD in Medicine. Following a short Post-Doctoral Fellow position in the Department of Pathology, University of Edinburgh, she joined the newly created Biomedical Research Institute in the University of Dundee School of Medicine. Following an MRC-funded Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Dundee, she was invited to join the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden as a visiting scientist, before returning to Dundee as Senior Scientist then Senior Lecturer. She is currently based in the Division of Cellular Medicine, where she is teaching lead for cancer-themed teaching and leads a translational research team working with clinical colleagues on novel approaches to personalise treatment and combat drug resistance in ovarian cancer.

Research interests

Translational studies on stratified medicine and drug resistance in ovarian and colorectal cancer. Biomarker discovery and collaborative "bench to bedside" cancer research.


Dr Smith leads a translational research team, working collaboratively with clinical colleagues in oncology, surgery and pathology. We are particularly interested in understanding the molecular basis of drug resistance in common cancers, with current research focussing on ovarian and colorectal cancers, where the development of drug resistant disease frequently limits treatment response. We have created novel drug resistant cell line models which mimic typical clinical treatments, and have used these to identify key resistance modifiers including FGF and AKT-regulated signalling cascades which can be targeted in novel combination chemotherapy approaches. Our laboratory studies are complemented by longitudinal studies in drug sensitive and drug resistant cancer patients which focus both on target and biomarker discovery. Our research programme is currently supported by Medical Research Scotland, the Chief Scientist Office and local charities and we are fortunate to collaborate and share resources within the UK and with international colleagues.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1992

Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988


  • RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
  • drug resistance
  • chemotherapy
  • ovarian cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • stratified medicine
  • RZ Other systems of medicine
  • Cancer Biology
  • cancer research


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