Deborah Smith trained as a biochemist at the University of Southampton and held post-doctoral fellowships at MRC Mill Hill, NIH Bethesda (USA) and Imperial College London before joining the academic staff of the Imperial Biochemistry Department. Following appointment to a Chair and serving as Associate Head of Department and Associate Chair of the Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine, she moved to the University of York in 2004 to establish the Centre for Immunology and Infection and further her research interests in neglected tropical diseases.
Deborah was Head of the Biology Department at York from 2010 – 2013 when she was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. Externally to York, Deborah has chaired the MRC Infections and Immunity Board and been a member of MRC Strategy Board (2007-2010), and has co-chaired the Science Funding Interview Panel of the Wellcome Trust (2011 – 2014). She has participated in international research reviews for organisations including Genome Canada, the Institut Pasteur Paris, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Copenhagen Research Forum and FCT Portugal. Deborah was awarded an OBE for Services to Biomedical Sciences in 2010.