About

 Dr Michael Smout obtained his BSc from the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia and his PhD from UQ/Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR).  His research interests have included melanoma, childhood viral infections and most recently parasitic helminths of humans. His expertise focus is the proteins secreted by parasitic helminths and those that facilitate their parasitic existence. His work has taken him to a range of locations, including 2 years at George Washington University working with the Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation before relocating back to Queensland in 2004.  For the past decade Dr Smout’s research has focused primarily on the search for carcinogenic molecules from the secretions of the human liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrinni - one of only three carcinogenic eukaryotic pathogens. His major scientific achievements include firstly, the identification of the parasite-derived growth factor, granulin, a protein that supercharges wound healing but establishes a tumorigenic environment in the liver of infected patients.  Secondly, the creation of the xWORM assay, a novel objective parasitic worm viability monitoring method.  This method is a vital step when screening for new drug treatments or drug resistance in a range of devastating parasitic worms. 

 With a creative flair for presenting he has won a range of science and general public presentation events since his northern migration to the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance laboratories at James Cook University in Cairns.  At a national level he won the “best pitch” in the 2012 Australian Trailblazer innovation competition and the 2014 Australian Famelab public presentation competition with 3 minutes that included eviscerating a teddy bear.  This led to representing Australia at the International Famelab in the United Kingdom.   His new position in Northern Australia has allowed his love of parasitic worm venom to now include anything tropical and toxic, including scorpions, stonefish and the world’s most venomous creature, the Australian sea wasp, also known as the big box jelly(fish).

 

Google Scholar ID: https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=XkWJ1DQAAAAJ&hl=en

 ORCHID ID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6937-0112

 Research web: https://research.jcu.edu.au/portfolio/michael.smout

 

Interests
Research
  • parasite growth factors
  • Thai Liver Fluke (Opisthorchis viverrini)
  • cancerous transformation
  • wound healing
  • Liver cancer (cholangiocarcinoma - bile duct cancer)
  • Protein purification
  • Box jellyfish Toxins
  • Cardiac toxins
  • Real time cell analysis
  • parasite worm motility monitoring
  • venom
Experience
  • 2010 to present - Postdoctoral Researcher, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2005 to 2009 - PhD Student, Queensland Institute of Medical Research (Brisbane)
  • 2000 to 2006 - Research Assistant, Queensland Institute of Medical Research (Brisbane)
  • 2002 to 2003 - Research Assistant, George Washington University Medical Centre (Washington DC, USA)
  • 1999 to 2000 - Research Assistant, Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre (Brisbane)
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2015 to 2016 - Far North Queensland Hospital large research grant
  • 2015 - Queensland Science and Inspiring Australia: Rising star of Queensland Science 2015
  • 2014 - ACEA research travel award
  • 2014 - FameLab Australian Winner
  • 2014 - National representative in FameLab International
  • 2014 - Faculty research Grant Scheme
  • 2014 - Reperio (Innovation pitching competition) winner
  • 2014 - Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics ECR seed funding
  • 2013 - American Society of Tropical Medicine and Health Young Investigator Presentation Award
  • 2013 - American Society of Tropical Medicine and Health (ASTMH) Travel award
  • 2013 - Far North Queensland Hospital small research grant
  • 2012 to 2013 - Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics ECR award
  • 2012 - Trailblazer James Cook University (JCU) finals “Best Pitch” winner
  • 2012 - Trailblazer (Uniquest Innovation Awards) Australian Grand Finals “Best Pitch” winner
  • 2012 - ASP Early Career Researcher Presentation Award
  • 2012 - “My Research in 3 minutes” Early Career Researcher School winner
  • 2011 - Trailblazer JCU finalist
  • 2010 - University of Queensland PhD thesis Dean’s award nomination
  • 2010 - Australian Society of Medical Research (ASMR) Premier awards student finalist
  • 2009 - ASMR Premier awards student finalist High Commendation
  • 2008 - ASMR Student Oral finalist
  • 2005 to 2008 - Dora Lush NHMRC PhD scholarship
  • 2007 - Pall Published Paper Award
  • 2007 - Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) Student Oral finalist
  • 2006 - ASP Student Poster Prize
  • 2005 - QIMR Student Oral finalist
Fellowships
  • 2012 - Australian Society for Parasitology (ASP) Researcher Exchange Fellowship
Memberships
  • 2013 - American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)
  • 2005 - Australian Society for Parasitology Member
  • 2005 - The Australian Society for Medical Research
  • 2007 to 2010 - American Association for the Advancement of Science
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 28+ research outputs authored by Dr Michael Smout from 2002 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Merchant Charitable Foundation - Donation

Pre-clinical development of a liver fluke growth factor for treating non-healing wounds

Indicative Funding
$150,000
Summary
This research proposal aims to develop more effective treatments for wound healing, improving treatment options for diabetic patients in Australia and eventually worldwide. This is likely to alleviate suffering from the disease and also decrease the AUD$3.6 billion financial burden of diabetic wound ulcers on the healthcare system. Although we showed that the liver fluke granulin protein has wound healing properties, it is difficult to produce in recombinant form. We have now developed a minimized version of granulin and produce it as a synthetic peptide that when applied topically displays wound-healing properties as potent as the full-length protein. Using the peptide as a topical agent is ideal because it capitalizes on the potency and specificity often associated with peptide-based drugs but does not require the high levels of bioavailability necessary for orally administered drugs. Our research will also provide advances in the field regarding the structure and folding of Ov-GRN-1, which will be of significant interest to researchers working specifically on growth factors and more broadly for those working on disulphide-rich peptides and proteins. Moreover, we believe that our decision to be guided in drug discovery by millennia of host-parasite coevolution will ensure that the most efficacious and safe drugs are identified and developed.
Investigators
Alex Loukas, Michael Smout, Norelle Daly and Paramjit Bansal (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Keywords
Liver Fluke; Growth Factor; Wound Repair; Therapeutics; Diabetes

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation - Research Award

Exploring new treatments for box jellyfish envenomation

Indicative Funding
$25,000
Summary
The best medical treatment for big box jellyfish envenoming is uncertain. To improve future treatments, we will explore the cardiotoxic mechanisms of the venom and screen for new drug and antivenom treatments using our hi-throughput real-time cardiomyocyte (heart muscle cell) assay.
Investigators
Michael Smout and Jamie Seymour (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Chironex fleckeri; Box jellyfish; Venom; Cardiomyocytes; Heart Muscle Cells; Envenomation; Toxic mechanisms
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Structure-Function Relationships of Disulphide-Rich Peptides (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Cardiotoxic pathways of Box Jellyfish {Chironex fleckeri) venom proteins (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:
jcu.me/michael.smout

Email
Phone
Location
  • E4.103, QLD Tropical Health Alliance (Cairns campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor (P)
Find me on…
Icon for Scopus Author page Icon for Google Scholar profile Icon for ORCID profile

Similar to me

  1. Prof Mike Kingsford
    College of Science & Engineering
  2. Dr Eric Wolanski
    College of Science & Engineering
  3. Dr Tobin Northfield
    College of Science & Engineering
  4. A/Prof Jamie Seymour
    Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
  5. Dr Mark Pearson
    Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine