Professor Carl SmytheProfessor Carl Smythe BA, PhD

Department of Biomedical Science
Tel: +44 (0)114 222 4643 | Email:


Quality control in the cell cycle

Carl graduated with a BA(Mod) from University of Dublin, Trinity College in 1981 followed by a PhD in 1985. Following a period of post-doctoral research at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, University of Dundee, he was awarded an American Cancer Society Senior Research Fellowship in 1990, held at the University of California, San Diego. He returned to the UK as Principle Investigator at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit in 1992, and subsequently moved to Sheffield to take up a Chair in Cell Biology in the Department of Biomedical Science, serving as Head of Department from 2003 until 2006. He is currently Director of the Faculty of Science Biological Mass Spectrometry Facility, which has received major funding from YCR.

Carl’s principle research interests lie in understanding how cells minimise the impact of making mistakes. Evolutionary principles have driven multicellular organisms to develop highly sophisticated quality control systems to minimise the impact of errors. Surveillance mechanisms range from molecular devices to control organelle number to systems for ensuring quality of DNA information content. Carl was a co- discoverer of the mechanism of glycogen biogenesis, the identification of a novel class of dual specificity protein phosphatases and has made significant contributions to our understanding of how cell cycle checkpoints are regulated. He leads a multi-disciplinary and translational team using chemical synthesis, cell biology and biological mass spectrometry to characterise multi-functional cellular fidelity devices that quality control the information content of both DNA and RNA in health and disease, and to translate that knowledge into strategies for understanding the emergence, and potential treatment, of a variety of cancers. Carl’s research is funded by YCR, the BBSRC and EPSRC.

Selected publications:

1. Gill, MR, Derrat, H, Smythe, CGW, Battaglia, G., & Thomas, J. A. (2011). Ruthenium(II) metallo-intercalators: DNA imaging and cytotoxicity Chembiochem, 12: 877–880.
2. Gill, MR, Garcia-Lara, J, Foster, SJ, Smythe, C, Battaglia, G, & Thomas, J.A (2010). A ruthenium(ii) polypyridyl complex for direct imaging of DNA structure in living cells. Nature Chemistry, 1: 662–667.
3. Müller, B, Blackburn, J, Feijoo, C, Zhao, X, & Smythe, C (2007). DNA-activated protein kinase functions in a newly observed S phase checkpoint that links histone mRNA abundance with DNA replication. Journal of Cell Biology, 179: 1385–1398.