Dr. Shad Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and holds a faculty position in the Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM). Dr. Smith also has an adjunct appointment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as part of the Center for Pain Research and Innovation (CPRI). He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in chemistry and zoology from Brigham Young University, before moving on to graduate school.
In 2006, he graduated with a doctorate in psychology with an emphasis in behavioral neuroscience. Following his time at McGill, Dr. Smith accepted a post-doctoral fellowship in the CPRI at the UNC School of Dentistry. He received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award in 2008 to study the role of alpha adrenergic mechanisms in chronic orofacial pain. He joined the faculty at UNC as a research assistant professor in 2011. Dr. Smith has also served since 2007 as a research consultant, and since 2010 as the Director of Bioinformatics, for Algynomics, Inc., a Chapel Hill-based biotech firm spun off from research activities within the UNC School of Dentistry.
Dr. Smith joined the faculty at Duke University in 2016, where he continues his work with genetics of pain disorders. The primary focus of his research career has been the search for genetic variation that contributes to greater pain sensitivity and increased risk for chronic pain disease. He has worked for over a decade with genomic techniques, including both quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in the mouse and genetic association in human pain cohorts, investigating a number of pain-related diseases and phenotypes. Dr. Smith has published over 40 journal articles and book chapters, and presented his work at several international meetings. His work with projects such as the OPPERA (Orofacial Pain: Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment) study has resulted in a number of novel genes being recognized as genetic risk factors for pain.