Clare Smith Named 2024 Pew Scholar

Clare Smith, PhD, assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, has been named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. This award provides four years of funding to young investigators to explore some of the most pressing questions in human health and medicine. Smith is one of 22 scholars nationwide to receive the award this year. 

Smith is interested in host genetic diversity, bacterial variation, and how host-pathogen genetic interactions drive tuberculosis disease states. Her lab defines the bacterial genetic requirements for growth and adaptation across diverse host environments using cutting-edge mycobacterial genetic approaches. Their work helps uncover host-pathogen interaction that underlies tuberculosis disease, drug treatments, and vaccine interventions. 

“This award is terrific recognition for the tuberculosis program that we have created at Duke,” Smith said. “We encountered so many challenges starting a high containment program during the pandemic, and this award reflects the amazing trainees, staff and generous collaborators that helped launch an exciting and collaborative research program.” 

The 2024 class of scholars join a community of more than 1,000 scientists who have received awards from Pew since 1985. Current scholars have opportunities to meet annually with fellow Pew-funded scientists to build connections and exchange ideas across a wide variety of disciplines. 

“Pew believes that supporting promising early-career researchers is key to scientific innovation, and for nearly 40 years our scholars have helped change the world — creating lifesaving therapies and responding to emerging health crises around the globe,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Pew’s senior vice president for Philadelphia and scientific advancement. “This class of Pew scholars is no different. We are proud to support these scientists and look forward to watching where their research takes them.”