Dr. Joel Smith studies how the genetic “blueprint” is used to make the body parts of an animal. Several of his projects investigate the way embryonic stem cells are made during the course of normal development, as well as how they are later re-directed to turn into various other cells in the animal. Dr. Smith studies how the expression of different genes coordinates these functions by controlling the expression of yet other genes, using advanced genomics platforms and computational modeling. The result is a “network” or a “wiring diagram” that describes the connections between genes and how the “blueprint” becomes transformed into various parts of the animal. With colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Smith is initiating a project to determine how genes control embryonic stem cells in mice, the experimental system of choice for understanding human development. He is also pursuing projects in a number of marine organisms which may prove to be better models for understanding regeneration in particular, but which will also inform in a general way our understanding of gene networks and how genes control animal development. Dr. Smith has a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Utah and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Davis.
Office: Rowe 412
Lab: Rowe 421-422