Deborah Smith is pro-vice-chancellor for research at the University of York in the United Kingdom, recent co-chair of the Wellcome Trust Science Funding Interview Panel (2011-2014), and past chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Infections and Immunity Research Board (2007-2010) in the United Kingdom.
Smith trained as a biochemist at the University of Southampton and held post-doctoral fellowships at MRC Mill Hill, the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland in the United States and Imperial College London before joining the academic staff of the Imperial Biochemistry Department. Following her appointment to a chair and serving as associate head of department and associate chair of the Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine at Imperial College, she moved to the University of York in the UK in 2004 to join the Centre for Immunology and Infection and further her research interests in neglected tropical diseases.
Smith was head of the Biology Department at York from 2010-2013 when she was appointed pro-vice-chancellor for research. Externally to York, Smith was also a member of the MRC Strategy Board (2007-2010) and currently sits on the executive group of the UK N8 research-intensive northern universities partnership.
Smith has participated in international research reviews for organizations including Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the South African MRC, the Institut Pasteur and FCT Portugal. She was awarded an Order of the British Empire for Services to Biomedical Sciences in 2010.