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Professor Nick Smith


smithNick Smith is the National Convenor for the Australian Society for Parasitology Network for Parasitology. He received his PhD from the Australian National University in 1988 and, after postdoctoral fellowships at the Australian National University, the University of Zurich, and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, he was appointed as Lecturer in Immunology at the University of Technology, Sydney in 1996. Over the next 14 years, Nick taught immunology and parasitology, and served as Acting Director and, then, Deputy Director of the newly established Institute for the Biotechnology of Infectious Diseases before becoming National Convenor of the ARC/NHMRC Research Network for Parasitology in 2005. He was promoted through the ranks becoming Professor of Parasitology in 2009. He moved to James Cook University in 2011 as a Tropical Leader, to focus on his research devoted to studying how parasites and their hosts interact.

Nick has also been instrumental in helping to develop a public outreach programme, in collaboration with Lisa Jones (Communications Coordinator, Australian Society for Parasitology Network for Parasitology), to promote science, particularly parasitology in the wider community. This has included participation in workshops for “Science in the City”, “Science in the Suburbs”, “Science in the Bush”, “The Ultimo Science Festival” and visits to schools on a annual basis. It has also resulted in a travelling exhibition entitled, “Parasites in Focus”, which showcases parasites, parasitologists and parasitology research in a suite of interactive exhibits that toured Australia for 4 years, reaching every capital city in Australia and numerous regional areas; it has been experienced by over 200,000 people and now resides with the Queensland Museum.


Nick’s research is devoted to studying how parasites and their hosts interact; this includes an interest in the immune response of hosts to parasites as well as adaptations of parasites that facilitate their survival, growth, reproduction, virulence and transmission. His team uses a variety of techniques in biochemistry and proteomics, molecular biology and recombinant protein expression, cell culture, immunofluorescence microscopy, immunology and vaccinology. Nick’s research has been supported by international and national funding bodies including the Australian Research Council, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the Swiss National Fund, the World Health Organisation, and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Nick’s research team currently focuses on two main programs: (1) understanding how errors in immune regulation in response to parasites leads to gut inflammation; and (2) developing vaccines against apicomplexan parasites, with a particular focus on Toxoplasma gondii.


Smith N.C. and Jones L.J. Australian Network for Parasitology, Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.

Smith N.C. Nitric Oxide and Intestinal Disease. James Cook University New Professor Grant

Smith N.C. and Brossier F. The role of proteases in the dissemination of the disease, coccidiosis. International Science Linkages, DIISR

Awards and Honours

Nick was made a Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology in 2008 in recognition of his contributions to research, education and enhancing opportunities for career development for young researchers.

Key Publications

  1. RieuxA, GrasS, LecailleF, NiepceronA, KatribM, SmithNC, LalmanachG and Brossier F (2012) Eimeripain, a cysteine cathepsin B-like protease, expressed throughout sporulation of the apicomplexan parasite Eimeria tenella. PLoS ONE 7; e31914
  2. Miller CM, Boulter NR, Fuller SJ, Zakrzewski AM, Lees MP, Saunders B, Wiley JS and Smith NC (2011) The role of P2X7 receptors in infectious diseases. PLoS Pathogens 7; e1002212.
  3. Mai K, Smith NC, Feng ZP, Katrib M, Slapeta,J, Slapetova,I, Wallach MG, Luxford C, Davies MJ, Zhang X, Norton RS and Belli SI (2011) Peroxidase catalyzed cross-linking of an intrinsically unstructured protein via dityrosine bonds in the oocyst wall of the apicomplexan parasite, Eimeria maxima. International Journal for Parasitology 41; 1157-1164
  4. MillerCM, ZakrzewskiAM, IkinRJ, BoulterNR, KatribM, LeesMP, FullerSJ, WileyJS and SmithNC (2011) Dysregulation of the inflammatory response to the parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, in P2X7 receptor-deficient mice. International Journal for Parasitology 41; 301-308
  5. LeesMP, FullerSJ, McLeodR, BoulterNR, MillerCM, ZakrzewskiAM, MuiEJ, WitolaWH, CoyneJJ, HargraveAC, JamiesonSE, BlackwellJM, WileyJS, and SmithNC (2010) P2X7 receptor-mediated killing of an intracellular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, by human and murine macrophages. Journal of Immunology 184; 7040-7046
  6. Parameswaran N, Thompson RCA, Sundar N, Pan S, Johnson M, Smith NC and Grigg ME (2010) Nonarchetypal Type II-like and atypical strains of Toxoplasma gondii infecting marsupials of Australia. International Journal for Parasitology 40; 635-640
  7. JamiesonSE, Peixoto-RangelAL, de RoubaixL-A, HargraveAC,BoulterNR, E. MillerN, Fuller SJ, WileyJS, MuiEJ, CastellucciL, BoyerK, Guerra PeixeR, KirisitsMJ, de Souza EliasL, CoyneJJ, Correa-Oliveira R, SautterM, SmithNC, LeesMP, Swisher1 CN, HeydemannP, NobleAG, PatelD, BardoD, BurrowesD, McLoneD, RoizenN, WithersS, Bahia-OliveiraLMG, McLeodR and BlackwellJM (2010) Evidence for associations between the purinergic receptor P2X7 (P2RX7) and toxoplasmosis. Genes and Immunity 11; 374-383
  8. Sharman PA, Smith NC, Wallach MG and Katrib M (2010) Chasing the golden egg: vaccination against poultry coccidiosis. Parasite Immunology 32; 590-598
  9. Walker RA, Slapetova, I, Slapeta J, Miller CM and Smith NC (2010) The glycosylation pathway of Eimeria tenella is upregulated during gametocyte development and may play a role in oocyst wall formation. Eukaryotic Cell 9; 127-135
  10. Belli SI, Ferguson DJP, Katrib M, Slapetova I, Mai K, Slapeta J, Flowers SA, Miska KB, Tomley FM, Shirley MW, Wallach MG and Smith NC (2009) Conservation of proteins involved in oocyst wall formation in Eimeria maxima, Eimeria tenella and Eimeria acervulina. International Journal for Parasitology 39; 1063-1070

JCU eResearch Publication List.

Contact info/location

Telephone: (07) 4042 1315 (Australia) +61 7 4042 1315 (International)

Address: Building E4, CAIRNS CAMPUS
Room 108