PhD, University of Melbourne, 2007
BSc (First Class), University of Melbourne, 2002
BSc, University of Melbourne, 2001
BA, University of Melbourne, 2001
Dr Nicola J. Smith is passionate about all things G protein-coupled receptor – the largest family of membrane proteins in the human genome.
Nicola completed her undergraduate training in pharmacology and biochemistry at the University of Melbourne in 2002 (first class Honours) before commencing a PhD at the Baker Heart Research Institute under the tutelage of Profs Walter Thomas and Ross Hannan, where she studied the role of EGFR transactivation by the angiotensin II receptor in left ventricular hypertrophy (Uni Melb, 2003-7). In 2006, Nicola was awarded a joint NHMRC/NHF CJ Martin Overseas Fellowship to work in the laboratory of Prof Graeme Milligan, a world expert on G protein-coupled receptors (University of Glasgow, 2007-2011). In early 2011, Nicola returned to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute to join the laboratory of Prof Robert Graham, a leader in the role of G protein-coupled receptors in cardiac physiology and pathophysiology, where she established a research program based upon orphan, or un-liganded, receptors (2011-2015). Nicola was appointed Group Leader in 2016 and was awarded a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship the following year. In mid-2019, Nicola accepted a senior lecturer appointment at UNSW Sydney School of Medical Sciences where she has established the Orphan Receptor Laboratory, as well as teaching into several pharmacology courses. In addition to her pharmacological studies, Nicola is a passionate science communicator and has worked as a radio science presenter, acted as Ambassador for IMB’s ‘When I Grow Up’ campaign and has spoken to many school and community groups about the joys of science and discovery. She is also very active within the pharmacology community and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Australasian Society for Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT), where she is also Scientific Advisory Committee Chair-Elect. In recognition of her contribution to research, teaching and community engagement, Nicola was promoted to Associate Professor at the beginning of 2022.
For current projects, please contact Nicola for more information.
National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (Level 2) “Understanding orphan G protein-coupled receptors in cardiovascular health and disease” (2017-2021)
NHMRC Project Grant 1120483 (CIC) “Role of RNA-binding proteins in cardiomyocyte physiology” (2017-2020)
St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation Froulop Research Grant (CIA) “Investigating the interplay between the sympathetic nervous system, anxiety and gender on blood pressure homeostasis” (2018)
Australian Government (CIA) Global Connections Fund Seed Grant (2017)
St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation Annual Grant 6 (CIA) “A new cardioprotective factor in left ventricular hypertrophy?” (2016)
Mostyn Family Foundation Ongoing Bequest (CIA) “To fund drug discovery addressing the underlying causes of hypertension”
NHMRC Project Grant 1061804 (CIB) “Does GPR84 mediate the beneficial effects of medium chain fatty acids?” (2014-2016)
NHMRC/NHF CJ Martin Fellowship (459413) “Molecular determinants of GPR40 signalling and regulation in disease” (2007-2013)
UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme 2016 Grant #RG 163080, Housley, Bryce, Finch, Jones, Liu, Moorhouse, Ong, Power, SMITH, Turner, Vandenberg “Faculty infrastructure project: benchtop system integrating multi-mode microplate optics with precision, programmable liquid handling”.
2015 Garvan Institute Oral Prize
2014 St Vincent’s Precinct Rising Star
2012 Paul Korner Seminar Speaker Award, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute
2012 37th Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function Young Investigator Award
2011 Young Tall Poppy Award, NSW
2011 ASCEPT Denis Wade New Investigator Award
2009 ‘Paper of the Week’, Journal of Biological Chemistry
2007 Highest ranked applicant for the National Heart Foundation of Australia Overseas Fellowship (accepted joint funding with NHMRC)
2004 Winner of the Best Poster Prize, Gordon Research Conference on Angiotensin
2004 Winner, Rod Andrews Poster Prize at the Baker Heart Research Institute
2001 Awarded the Pharmacology Prize for top final year student, University of Melbourne
I mainly teach 3rd year undergraduate pharmacology courses, contributing lectures, tutorials, practicals, online lessons, assessment task design and marking. I also teach some subjects within the medicine and optometry courses. My main area of expertise is molecular pharmacology, particularly G protein-coupled receptors.
Current subjects:PHAR3102 Molecular Pharmacology