Professor Smith received his B.A. degree from the University of Colorado in 1967 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1971. He served on the faculty of Michigan State University from 1975–2003. Professor Smith joined the University of Michigan faculty as a professor of biological chemistry, the Minor J. Coon Collegiate Professor of Biological Chemistry, and chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry in 2003. He retired from active faculty status in 2015.
Professor Smith studied signal transduction, eicosanoid metabolism and function, lipids and lipid mediators, and essential fatty acid metabolism and nutrition. His research explored the role of nutritionally essential fatty acids, prostaglandins and cyclooxygenases in inflammation, thrombosis, and colon cancer. Professor Smith had a notable history of successfully securing research funding, published numerous articles in leading journals, and was a frequent invited speaker at national symposia. He served on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals, including the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Biochimica Biophysics Acta, Hypertension, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Prostaglandins. A gifted teacher and dedicated mentor, Professor Smith taught undergraduate biochemistry courses, served on thesis committees, and was a research adviser to many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Bayer Corporation’s Senior Aspirin Award (1997), the State of Michigan Scientist of the Year Award (2004), and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s William C. Rose Award (2006).