Home > Our Members > Associate Members > Katherine Smith

Dr. Katherine Ann Smith PhD (Cambridge)

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow

Kate Smith

Cardiff Institute for Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University; UCT Honorary Research Associate, Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, & Associate Member, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.

Research focus:

I am interested in how parasitic worm infection affects inflammatory disorder such as lung inflammation and cancer.

Current projects:

In 2015, I was awarded funding from the European Commission to begin to answer whether parasites can alter cancer development.  My project: WORMTUMORS specifically focuses on how parasite infection can influence colorectal cancer. 

While based at the IDM, UCT, I have secured funding from the National Research Foundation of South Africa to support 2 students on this project.  I am also collaborating with Professor Sharon Prince (UCT) and making use of cancer cell lines to start to ask how differing parasite products affect cancer cell growth, invasion, and metastasis.  We hope this knowledge will allow the design of novel therapeutics to treat cancer. 

In collaboration with A/Professor William Horsnell (IDM, UCT), we also have an Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA) funded project, which aims to understand how helminth infection influences lung inflammation.

KEY EXPERTISE: Immunology, infectious diseases, helminth infections, colorectal cancer, immune-regulation


Selected publications:

Jacobs B, Chetty A, Horsnell W, Shafer G, Prince S and Smith KA (2018). Hookworm exposure decreases human papillomavirus uptake and cervical cancer cell migration through systemic regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition marker expression. Scientific Reports 8:11547

Smith KA, Loser S, Varyani F, Harcus Y, McSorley HJ, McKenzie ANJ and Maizels RM (2018). Concerted IL-25R and IL-4Rα signaling drive innate type 2 effector immunity for optimal helminth expulsion. ELife 7:e38269

Thawer S, Auret J, Schnoeller C, Chetty A, Smith K, Darby M, Roberts L, Mackay RM, Whitwell HJ, Timms JF, Madsen J, Selkirk ME, Brombacher F, Clark HW, Horsnell WG (2016). Surfactant Protein-D Is Essential for Immunity to Helminth Infection. PLoS Pathog 12:e1005461.

Reynolds LA, Smith KA, Filbey KJ, Harcus Y, Hewitson JP, Yebra MJ, Maizels RM (2014). Commensal-pathogen interactions in the intestinal tract: Lactobacilli promote infection with, and are promoted by, helminth parasites.  Gut Microbes 5:522-32.

Reynolds LA, Harcus Y, Smith KA, Webb LM, Hewitson JP, Ross EA. Brown S, Uematsu S, Akira S, Gray D, Gray M, MacDonald AS, Cunningham AF, Maizels RM (2014).  MyD88 signaling inhibits protective immunity to the gastrointestinal helminth parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrusJ Immunol 193:2984-93.

Smith KA and Maizels RM (2014). IL-6 controls susceptibility to helminth infection by impeding Th2 responsiveness and altering Treg phenotype in vivo. Eur J Immunol 44:150-61.

McSorley HJ, Blair NF, Smith KA, McKenzie ANJ, Maizels RM (2014). Blockade of IL-33 release and suppression of type 2 innate lymphoid cell responses by helminth secreted products in airway allergy. Mucosal Immunol 7:1068-78.

Filbey KJ, Grainger JR, Smith KA, Boon L, Harcus Y, Jenkins S, Hewitson JP, Maizels RM (2014). Innate and adaptive type 2 immune cell responses in genetically controlled resistance to intestinal helminth infection. Immunol and Cell Biol 92:436-48.


Contact details:

Room 3.20 Falmouth Building
IDM, Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 406 6220

Employer address:
Cardiff Institute for Infection and Immunity
Cardiff University
Tenovus Building, Heath Park
Cardiff, CF14 4XN, UK

Email: SmithK28@cardiff.ac.uk


Alternate site: www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/310949-smith-katherine


Group members:

Brunette Katsandegwaza (PhD)
Brittany-Amber Jacobs (MSc)



Associate Professor William Horsnell, IDM and Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, UCT, South Africa

Professor Sharon Prince, Department of Human Biology, UCT, South Africa

Professor Awen Gallimore, Cardiff University, UK