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Prof. David K. Smith

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Dave Smith is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of York, where he carries out fundamental research into smart nanomaterials and nanomedicines, publishing >150 research papers, with an h-index of almost 60. He is a passionate educator, giving outreach lectures to >50,000 UK school students and developing his own YouTube chemistry channel, with over half a million views.


Inspired by his husband’s ongoing health problems, Prof. David Smith refocussed his research towards a number of applied targets in biomedicine. He has used his fundamental knowledge in supramolecular chemistry – the interactions between molecules – in order to assemble nanoscale systems that can intervene in biological processes.


Dave received the Corday Morgan Award from The Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of his research and a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy. He was named as one of the RSC’s 175 diverse ‘Faces of Chemistry’ and nominated for a Gay Times Honour for LGBT+ Activism in STEM. He is a key advocate of Diversity in STEM. Dave entered into a civil partnership with his husband Sam in 2010. They live in central York, with their adopted son.

In the talk, we will consider the design of nanostructures to bind biological species like DNA, with potential applications in gene therapy. We will also explore systems that can bind the anti-coagulant drug heparin, as they have the potential to intervene in major surgery. We will discuss the self-assembly of innovative hydro-gels that are suitable for drug delivery of painkiller drugs. Finally, we will discuss the use of these gels for tissue growth, with future potential to enable the tissue engineering of organs from a patient’s own stem cells.

 What will you discover? 

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