Dr James Smith


After graduating from the University of Leicester, James started his postgraduate research career at the University of Oxford, then accepted a PhD studentship in drug design at the University of Cambridge. As a postdoctoral research associate in computational chemistry,  James reearched into drug interactions and was funded by both AstraZeneca and Unilever and then the MRC at the Centre for Protein Engineering to work on peptidomimetic design. 

From 2004 to 2007, James worked as a Resarch Fellow at the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg in Germany then three years as a Volkswagen Foundation-funded Fellow in Computational Systems Biology at Jacobs University Bremen.  Returning to the University of Cambridge in 2010, he became a visiting Lecturer at the Cambridge Computational Biology Institute and returned to work in structure-based drug discovery at the Departments of Biochemstry and Chemistry.  James was offered a temporary  lectureship jointly at Birkbeck College London and UCL for the BBSRC SysMIC DTP Consortium. In  2013, he was appointed as an MRC Senior Investigator Scientist and moved to MRC Human Nutrition Research (now MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory), UK.


  • Natural Sciences Link Tutor
  • Undergraduate and Postgraduate Module Leader

Research interests

James Smith is a Lecturer in Biochemistry in Metabolic & Biophysical Modelling appointed in September 2016. James' interests are in  computational systems and structural biology, in method develpment for the prediction of emergent states in metabolic processes.  

PhD Students

  • Ms Nienyun Sharon Hsu 
  • Mr John Holden, jointly funded and co-supervised by DEFRA and the University of Newcastle 

Professional activities

  • NIHR Peer reviewer
  • European Commission H2020 Registered Expert Evaluator

Recent Grants


  • PhD, Computer-aided Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Cambridge (2002)
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, University of Leicester (1993)

Professional memberships

  • Biochemistry Society
  • British Biophysical Society
  • Mathematical Biology Society

Student education

Past and present teaching responsibilities

  • Module coordinator on  FOOD2031 Molecules in Food that Control Texture and Taste; FOOD5241M Structure and Function of Food Components, and lecturer on the following FOOD 3130 Food Research: Recent Revelations and Disputes; 
  • Final year BSc undergraduate and MSc research project Supervisor


Research groups and institutes

  • Food Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Theoretical Modelling and Simulation
  • Soft Matter Physics

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.

Projects currently available: