Head of Department

Ken Smith


Ken Smith became Head of the Department of Medicine on 1st April 2010. He is Professor of Medicine at the University of Cambridge and a consultant Nephrologist and Clinical Immunologist. He is also Deputy Director of the Division of Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, a Fellow of Pembroke College, and is the Khoo Oon Teik Professor of Nephrology, National University of Singapore. Ken studied medicine at the University of Melbourne, and completed a BMedSc in the Nuffield Department of Surgery in Oxford. He trained in nephrology with an interest in autoimmune disease at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and then completed pathology training specialising in clinical immunology. His PhD (with David Tarlinton and Gus Nossal: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) examined aspects of B cell immunology, work built upon in two years working with Douglas Fearon in Cambridge.

He now runs a laboratory in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research which has two main components.  The first studies basic immunological mechanisms, and how defects in regulatory control of the immune system can lead to autoimmunity and alter defence against infection. The second component is a translational programme in autoimmune disease (particularly SLE and vasculitis) and has led to the discovery of a novel prognosis-predicting biomarker now entering clinical trials, and the identification of genes involved in disease pathogenesis. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and in 2007 was awarded the Lister Institute Research Prize.

He also helps promote the development of immunology research in Cambridge. He established the Cambridge Immunology Strategic Network (www.immunology.cam.ac.uk), and is Theme Lead for Immunity, Inflammation and Infection in the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. He directs the Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies (FOCIS) Cambridge International Centre of Excellence.