UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Dr Claire Smith

Dr Claire Smith

Associate Professor

Infection, Immunity & Inflammation Dept

UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Joined UCL
17th Dec 2011

Teaching summary

Claire is co-director of the MRes Child Health. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and has experience in the design and delivery of lectures to the MSc students at Leicester and UCL. She currently supervises two competitively funded PhD students as PI. Other supervision includes: 5 PhD students as secondary supervisor, 3 of which has successfully completed their studies, the other 2 are ongoing; and four BSc and eight MSc project students completed with merit or distinction grades.


Claire is an Associate Professor at UCL GOS Institute of Child Health with expertise in primary human epithelial respiratory virus infection models, including RSV, influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. Claire’s current research aims to improve our understanding of how viruses target the airway and subjugate innate mucosal immunity in order to develop effective treatments for respiratory viruses. She is currently funded by UKRI, AFRUK, GOSHCC and the Wellcome Trust.

Claire has a BSc (Hons) in Medical Microbiology and a PhD in which she developed novel vaccine strategies against Streptococcus pneumoniae, a common bacteria that causes pneumonia. Claire has held Research Associate positions at University of Leicester, University of Warwick and UCL during which time she has developed specialized cell culture infection models that contain the primary target of many respiratory viruses, ciliated human airway epithelial cells. 

At UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, Claire established and continues to manage a research tissue bank that facilitates projects focused on respiratory diseases across UCL and externally. She was appointed as a Lecturer in 2015 and Associate Professor in 2021. Her current research explores how respiratory viruses target the airway and whether the immune cells (neutrophils) that are recruited as the airway’s first line of defense, contribute to damage caused. She works closely with industrial partners to test novel and combination antiviral therapies against RSV and SARS-CoV-2. More information about Claire's research team can be found HERE.

Claire is also involved in public and scientific engagement activities, most recently with the development of the GOS ICH YouTube channel.

Claire has taken three career breaks since she obtained her PhD and she is a strong supporter of EDI issues - encouraging the most creative and talented minds to stay in science.