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Past Scientists

Dr Nicola Smith


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 Australia and came 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 (2011-2014). Nicola was appointed Group Leader of the Molecular Pharmacology Lab in 2016. Nicola finished up here in 2019.

Nicola is a recipient of the prestigious National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (2017-2021) and has also received financial support from NHMRC, NHF, CASS Foundation, Mostyn Family Foundation, St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation, and the Australian Government Global Connections Fund for her research.

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.

Nicola holds a senior lecturer appointment at UNSW Sydney School of Medical Sciences where she heads up the Orphan Receptor Laboratory, as well as teaching several pharmacology courses. Nicola currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Australasian Society for Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT).

Dr Nicola Smith Portrait
Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years