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Donald Smee

Research Professor

Research Interests



I received my Ph.D. degree in Biology at Utah State University in 1981, working with Dr. Robert W. Sidwell, a renowned researcher in antiviral hemotherapy. Emphasis of the dissertation research was in new treatments for rotavirus infections.

In 1981 I was hired as a Research Scientist at Syntex Research, Mountain View, California, where I was the leader of a group studying anti-herpesvirus compounds. I worked with Dr. John Martin and other scientists on a project leading to the licensure of the antiviral drug ganciclovir. This drug was the first of its kind approved for the treatment of human cytomegalovirus infections.

I joined the Nucleic Acid Research Institute of ICN Pharmaceuticals in 1985 to head the Virology Department. There I worked in collaboration with a team of scientists directed by Dr. Roland Robins, a distinquished chemist and inventor of the antiviral drug rubavirin. Our group investigated several novel stimulators of the immune system during the time spent at ICN.

I was appointed Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences at Utah State University in 1989, serving as a member of a research group in the Institute for Antiviral Research. This appointment involved primarily investigating the control of virus diseases, with emphasis on herpesviruses and cytomegalovirus. The National Institutes of Health and various pharmaceutical companies sponsored this work. Two years later I was appointed to the position of Research Associate Professor.

In 1996 I took a leave of absence from Utah State University for three years. Most of that time was spent working as a Visiting Scientist for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland. The work there involved the discovery of new therapies for smallpox and related orthopoxvirus infections. From this effort, a promising new compound, cidofovir (a licensed antiviral drug for other indications), was investigated and found to be a promising new treatment for orthopoxvirus infections.

In June of 1999 I returned to Utah State University to resume my position in the Institute for Antiviral Research.