Silvia E. Smith

Dr. Silvia Smith

Dr. Silvia E. Smith


Assistant Professor

Weinstein Health Sciences Building, 160



I am a natural scientist interested in using evolutionary theory to test hypotheses regarding the natural history and causality of human infectious and chronic diseases. My interest in human disease is broad and began with my doctoral work at the University of Utah where I studied the coevolutionary relationships among humans and the causative pathogens of tuberculosis and leprosy (genus Mycobacterium), accounting for the previously uncharacterized role of genetic recombination in this genus. I continued the work on human infectious diseases as a postdoctoral fellow studying the mechanisms of plasmid-mediated acquisition of drug-resistance in multidrug-resistant human pathogens. 

More recently, my research has shifted to characterizing the molecular mechanisms implicated in chronic inflammatory human diseases. I completed an additional postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Ophthalmology Department, where I studied the molecular and genetic bases of age-related macular degeneration. I subsequently worked as a Research Scientist at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Division,  where I studied the genetic and molecular pathways implicated in interstitial lung disease.  My current work in collaboration with the University of Utah School of Medicine aims to characterize the role of inflammation in interstitial lung disease, depression, and other chronic human disorders. I am also the Principal Investigator in a collaborative study that aims to characterize the prevalence and impact of dyspnea in dysautonomia.

I have worked with several undergraduate, graduate, and medical students during the last several years, and I am excited to continue working with highly motivated students who have an interest in understanding the mechanisms implicated in human disease. I am also happy to mentor students who have a specific interest or project which falls under the scope of my training. 

Web manager's note: click here to visit one of Dr. Smith's latest research endeavors, a three-year study of shortness of breath in dysautonomia patients.