Smith, Gillian


  • 3667 Citations
  • 32 h-Index
1992 …2022
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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 supervsor 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.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh


  • 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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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2010 2022

Research Output 1992 2018

7 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)

A comparative pharmacokinetic study of PARP inhibitors demonstrates favorable properties for niraparib efficacy in preclinical tumor models

Sun, K., Mikule, K., Wang, Z., Poon, G., Vaidyanathan, A., Smith, G., Zhang, Z. Y., Hanke, J., Ramaswamy, S. & Wang, J., 14 Dec 2018, In : Oncotarget. 9, 98, p. 37080-37096 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Cell Membrane Permeability
Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
2 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)

Interaction between polymorphisms in aspirin metabolic pathways, regular aspirin use and colorectal cancer risk: A case-control study in unselected white European populations

Sheth, H., Northwood, E., Ulrich, C. M., Scherer, D., Elliott, F., Barrett, J. H., Forman, D., Wolf, C. R., Smith, G., Jackson, M. S., Santibanez-Koref, M., Haile, R., Casey, G., Jenkins, M., Win, A. K., Hopper, J. L., Marchand, L. L., Lindor, N. M., Thibodeau, S. N., Potter, J. D. & 2 others, Burn, J. & Bishop, D. T., 9 Feb 2018, In : PLoS ONE. 13, 2, p. 1-17 17 p., e0192223.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Metabolic Networks and Pathways
case-control studies
colorectal neoplasms
55 Citations (Scopus)
243 Downloads (Pure)

ABCB1 (MDR1) induction defines a common resistance mechanism in paclitaxel- and olaparib-resistant ovarian cancer cells

Vaidyanathan, A., Sawers, L., Gannon, A-L., Chakravarty, P., Scott, A. L., Bray, S. E., Ferguson, M. J. & Smith, G., 9 Aug 2016, In : British Journal of Cancer. 115, p. 431-441 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Ovarian Neoplasms
Pharmaceutical Preparations
43 Citations (Scopus)

MicroRNA-224 is associated with colorectal cancer progression and response to 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy by KRAS-dependent and-independent mechanisms

Amankwatia, E. B., Chakravarty, P., Carey, F. A., Weidlich, S., Steele, R. J. C., Munro, A. J., Wolf, C. R. & Smith, G., 28 Apr 2015, In : British Journal of Cancer. 112, 9, p. 1480-1490 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colorectal Neoplasms
HCT116 Cells
15 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)

Recurrent Coding Sequence Variation Explains only A Small Fraction of the Genetic Architecture of Colorectal Cancer

Timofeeva, M. N., Kinnersley, B., Farrington, S. M., Whiffin, N., Palles, C., Svinti, V., Lloyd, A., Gorman, M., Ooi, L. Y., Hosking, F., Barclay, E., Zgaga, L., Dobbins, S., Martin, L., Theodoratou, E., Broderick, P., Tenesa, A., Smillie, C., Grimes, G., Hayward, C. & 41 others, Campbell, A., Porteous, D., Deary, I. J., Harris, S. E., Northwood, E. L., Barrett, J. H., Smith, G., Wolf, R., Forman, D., Morreau, H., Ruano, D., Tops, C., Wijnen, J., Schrumpf, M., Boot, A., Vasen, H. F. A., Hes, F. J., Van Wezel, T., Franke, A., Lieb, W., Schafmayer, C., Hampe, J., Buch, S., Propping, P., Hemminki, K., Försti, A., Westers, H., Hofstra, R., Pinheiro, M., Pinto, C., Teixeira, M., Ruiz-Ponte, C., Fernández-Rozadilla, C., Carracedo, A., Castells, A., Castellví-Bel, S., Campbell, H., Bishop, D. T., Tomlinson, I. P. M., Dunlop, M. G. & Houlston, R. S., 10 Nov 2015, In : Scientific Reports. 5, 10 p., 16286.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Colorectal Neoplasms
DNA Mismatch Repair
Nucleic Acid Regulatory Sequences

Activities 2001 2018

  • 5 Participation in conference
  • 1 Festival/Exhibition
  • 1 Schools engagement

School of Medicine Open Day

Colin Henderson (Participant), Frances Fuller-Pace (Participant), Gillian Smith (Participant), Francisco Inesta-Vaquera (Participant), Susan Bray (Participant), Norman Pratt (Participant), Rosamund Langston (Participant), Suzanne Duce (Participant), Hugh Nicholson (Participant)
8 Sep 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesFestival/Exhibition

Work Experience week

Colin Henderson (Member), Alison McNeilly (Member), Bethany Coull (Member), Gillian Smith (Member), Hugh Nicholson (Member)
30 Jul 2018

Activity: Other activity typesSchools engagement

14th North American ISSX Meeting

Gillian Smith (Participant)
22 Oct 200626 Oct 2006

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Newcastle Pathology 2005: 3rd Joint Meeting of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathology and the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland

Gillian Smith (Participant)
5 Jul 20058 Jul 2005

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

British Society for Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting

Gillian Smith (Participant)
7 Apr 20039 Apr 2003

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Press / Media

Gene helps predict which ovarian cancer sufferers will benefit most from chemotherapy

Gillian Smith, Michael Ng, C Simon Herrington, Michelle Ferguson & Roland Wolf


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research


Characterisation of novel mechanisms of resistance to single-agent and combination chemotherapy in ovarian cancer

Author: Vaidyanathan, A., 2019

Supervisor: Smith, G. (Supervisor), Clarke, P. (Supervisor) & Herrington, S. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

microRNA expression in colorectal tumours: identification of novel mechanisms of gene regulation

Author: Amankwatia, E. B., 2014

Supervisor: Smith, G. (Supervisor) & Wolf, C. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy