Dr Robert Smith

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Research Fellow | Quality Manager - Genomics Research Centre Diagnostics Clinic

2000    Bachelor of Science, Griffith University

2006    PhD, Griffith University


Dr Robert Smith is a mid-career researcher with twelve years of experience in the research of genetic disorders, cancer and neurological conditions in particular. He has been involved in pre- clinical and clinical research into breast, colon, thyroid and endocrine cancers, identifying several variations and mutations that are involved in the development and progression of these diseases. His research has identified molecular changes with the potential to improve and personalise the treatment of cancer, in particular the dynamics of the hormone signalling systems in breast cancer. He is interested in the interaction between mutations and other genetic variations in cancer and neurological conditions with response to treatment.

Dr Smith has experience with a variety of molecular techniques for the analysis of DNA, RNA and proteins, including real time-PCR, microarray studies and next generation sequencing techniques. He has taken his knowledge of the complex genetics of disease development to research projects aimed at identifying genetic variants causing neurological conditions such as episodic ataxia, familial hemiplegic migraine, epilepsy, and stroke syndromes. Dr Smith is also an expert in the ethics of research and clinical trials and functions as the Research Ethics Advisor for the GRC. Dr. Smith is also involved in the GRC’s Genetic Diagnostics service, helping to design and supervise techniques for the detection of mutations in neurological genetic diseases.

Dr Smith completed his Bachelor’s degree at Griffith University, with an Honours research project looking into the impact of genetic factors in cancer development. His PhD, also undertaken at Griffith University, built on this work and further examined how the behaviour of hormone receptors in the progression of breast cancer. Since completing his PhD, Dr Smith has continued to work on genetic factors in cancer and has also begun to work on similar projects in neurological conditions. He has been involved in diagnostic testing of genetic conditions for several years and has helped develop the GRC’s Next Generation Sequencing panels to provide better and cheaper diagnostic testing for people with epilepsy, seizure and migraine related disorders. Recently, Dr Smith has also begun to coordinate and provide memory testing in some of the GRC’s sponsored clinical trials for Alzheimer’s Disease.