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Derek J. Smith Profiled, Published in Science for his Work Mapping Influenza

April 21, 2008

Derek J. Smith, who received his PhD in computer science from the CS Dept, is now mapping influenza mutations at Cambridge University, where he is a full professor in the Zoology Department. His work is a continuation of the PhD and postdoc he did with Department Chair Stephanie Forrest. He was called "Mapmaker for the World of Influenza" in a recent biographical piece in Science. His work on antigenic cartography is so highly regarded that he was invited to join the World Health Organization group that selects which strain of influenza will be used for the annual flu vaccine used worldwide by 300 million people. Derek Smith and other CS Dept Alumni, Terry Jones, were authors on a paper published recently in Science magazine called "The Global Circulation of Seasonal Influenza A (H3N2) Viruses", which described the cycle of influenza mutations first appearing in East/Southeast Asia and later propagating to the the world. This work could help improve the vaccine millions depend on each flu season.