B. S. in Applied Biology- Georgia Institute of Technology ("Georgia Tech")
Ph.D. in Molecular Biology- University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine ("Penn")
I love interacting with both genetics and
biochemistry students (undergraduate and graduate) as well as genetics and
biochemistry faculty in the same department. This was the major draw for me to come
to Clemson as a faculty member.
Although I enjoy teaching Biochemistry 301
(Molecular Biochemistry), my favorite interaction with undergraduate and
graduate students is serving as a research mentor. There is nothing more
enjoyable than watching the maturation of a student as a scientist. I have been
fortunate to have many talented undergraduate and graduate students perform
research in my lab.
My lab is funded by research grants from both the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to investigate acetate kinase, a key enzyme in bacterial metabolism that we have identified in a number of important fungal and protozoan pathogens. We are using genetic and biochemical approaches to dissect the enzymology and the physiology of acetate kinase and its partner enzymes in the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, an invasive opportunistic pathogen of the central nervous system and the most frequent cause of fungal meningitis worldwide, and in the protist Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amebic dysentery and the third leading cause of death due to parasitic disease in humans after malaria and schistosomiasis. As acetate kinase may play an essential role in these pathogens, it may provide a novel drug target since it is absent in humans. This enzyme is also present in plant fungal pathogens so that work on this enzyme will likely have an agricultural impact as well.
Visit his faculty page at - http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/genbiochem/people/ksmith.html