Ed Smith

  • Sabbatical, F33, National research Service Award, The National Institutes of Health/NHGRI 2011
  • Sabbatical, NIH-NHGRI funded at the University of Washington 1997
  • Postdoc, Iowa State University 1991-92
  • Ph.D., Oregon State University (Genetics; Minors: Biochemistry & Statistics) 1991
  • M.S., Oregon State University (Genetics, Integrated minors: Biochemistry & Statistics) 1989
  • B.S., University of Sierra Leone (Agriculture, Division I: Magna Cum Laude equivalence)
  • ALS 3104: Animal Breeding and Genetics: 25%, Genomics Section
  • ALS 5094: Effective Grant Writing for Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences
  • APSC/BCHM 5054G and 4054: Genomics: 50%
  • GBCB 5004: Seminar

Our outreach efforts at VT over the last 10 years have been both novel and “extremely” productive. Building on the USD-funded biotechnology experiential learning program for VA K-12 teachers, we brought to VT 7th-8thgrade Harris-Foundation/Exxon-Mobil-funded science camp program.

Comparative Genomics Lab

The rationale for comparative genomics, thus that of my laboratory, is that all organisms have a common ancestor and therefore share many components of their genomes. Using this rational, therefore, you can obtain a lot of genomic information by just looking at or studying information-rich species such as Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, and Rattus norvegicus. Further, you can use information from model organisms to understand the biological basis of some important biomedical conditions and phenomena in humans.

Our activities involve both aspects of comparative genomics:  building genomic information on little-understood avian species using information from more widely studied organisms, and using information on model species to understand a biological phenomenon in humans.

Research training grants

I pioneered research training grants from the NIH at Virginia Tech. Through my efforts, VT is currently one of the leading land-grant institutions to receive NIH funding for training graduate students. These programs have brought to VT almost 70 students who have participated in major research activities and published and presented outstanding work they participated in or led. On average, the training grants currently bring in $800,000 annually, among the highest of any faculty in any of the three missions of the university.

Summary list of scholarly contributions



Papers in refereed in journals


Papers in conference proceedings


Papers in refereed Experiment Station magazines


Other papers in scientific magazines, journals, and news papers




Scientific: oral or poster






Other Publications: GenBank sequences (unverified)
Turkey: EST and Microsatellite-containing

51 kb

Chicken: EST and comparative DNA sequences

32 kb

Budgie: Microsatellite-containing and comparative DNA sequences

70 kb

Number of citations (ISI, excluding self)


* Includes >100 citations reported by “Google Scholar” for the Book, “Plain Talk About the Human Genome Project.

Recent Peer Reviewed Publications

  • September 2, 2005: Avian genomes: New but old axis in vertebrate biology. Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology/Systems Biology Seminar Series, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.
  • Lin, K.C. and Edward J. Smith, 2005. Candidate genes expression profile for dilated cardiomyopathy in the turkey, Meleagris gallopavoAbstractPoster.
  • Second Annual Research Symposium, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia.
  • Amenkhienan, E., * and Edward Smith. 2005. In silico analysis of alternative splicing in Gallus gallus genes controlling circadian rhythm. AbstractPoster. Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program Summer Research Symposium. Blacksburg, VA.
  • Guan*, X., and Edward J. Smith, 2005. Comparative evaluation of oxidative stress in birds that differ in longevity. AbstractPoster. Second Annual Research Symposium, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia.
  • Geng*, T and Smith, E. 2005. PCR-RFLP-based analyses of novel immune response associated SNPs in commercial and non-commercial chickens. AbstractPoster. May 8-11. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. NY. Chicken genomics and development.
  • Guan*, X. and Smith, E. 2005. Characterization of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the Gallus gallus mitochondrial DNA. AbstractPoster. May 8-11. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. NY. Chicken genomics and development.
  • Lin* KC and Smith EJ, 2005. Genome analysis of candidate genes for dilated cardiomyopathy in the turkey. Abstract. Poster presentation. AbstractPoster. May 8-11. Cold Spring Harbor. Laboratory. NY. Chicken genomics and development.
  • Gyenai*, KB, and Smith E. J., 2005. Genetic analysis of dilated cardiomyopathy in the turkey, Meleagris gallopavoAbstractPoster. 25th Annual MANRRS Conference, Pittsburgh, PA March 27-31.
  • Kamara*, D., T. Geng*, E. Long, S. Guynn, and E. Smith. 2005. Development and characterization of genomic reagents for use of the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) as a model for studies of ageing. AbstractOral. 25th Annual MANRRS Conference, Pittsburgh, PA March 27-31.
  • Gyenai*, KB, and Smith E. J., 2005. Genetic analysis of dilated cardiomyopathy in the turkey, Meleagris gallopavoAbstractOral. Southern Poultry Science Society Annual Meeting. January, 2005. Atlanta, GA.
  • Smith, E.J., and Cooper, L.D. 2005. A progress report on the Virginia Tech Post-baccalaureate Research and Education Program.  June 12-14. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Abstract. Oral.
  • December 2011. The Genomes of our Fair-feathered Friends: finding genes for heart disease, a few good males and cancer. NHGRI/NIH Friday Floor Forums.
  • 2014 – Senior Faculty Fellow, West AJ Residential Program,
  • 2012 – Co-Program Director, Post-baccalaureate Research and Education Program (VT-PREP)    
  • 2011-2012 – Senior Fellow, NIH Genome Institute, National Research Service Sabbatical
  • Member, 2013-14 Cohort, Virginia Tech’s Executive Development Institute (next generation of university leaders)


  • National Research Service Award, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda.


  • Faculty Host, Fulbright Visiting Professor, Dr. Isaac Adeyinka, Professor and Head, Data Processing Unit, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria.


  • June: Member, NIH BD2K (President’s Initiative on Big Data) Review: Education Resources and Career Development (Bethesda, Maryland)
  • July: co-Chair, NIH Study Section, National Research Mentoring Network U54 program: ZRG1 BBBP-J. Reston, Virginia
  • August: Referee (by invitation from Chair), Tenure Application, Dr. Emmitt Jolly, Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio