Craig Smith

Craig Smith, BSc (Hons) MBChB MD MRCP


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Professor of Stroke Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester 

Consultant in Stroke Medicine, Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences, Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Stroke Research Lead, Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre

Previous Chair of Scientific Committee, British Association of Stroke Physicians

Greater Manchester Clinical Research Network (CRN) Specialty Lead for Stroke

Hyperacute Stroke Research Centre Lead, Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences


Stroke | Neuroscience and mental health | The University of Manchester

Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre - Research & Innovation (

Brain Inflammation Group ( 


Research interests

My research is focused on the translational theme of inflammation, immunity and infection in cerebrovascular disease and is inter-disciplinary in nature. Inflammation, infections and immune dysregulation influence both the risk and causation of stroke, and also have a significant impact on the outcome after a stroke. For example, pneumonia complicates at least 10% of strokes and has a devastating effect on clinical outcomes, increasing the chances of death 3 fold. Targeting inflammation, immune responses and infections in this setting therefore offers exciting therapeutic opportunities to modify stroke risk and improve outcomes for patients.

I am interested in how inflammation and immune responses are altered prior to, and after stroke, and how these responses (and infections) might contribute to worse outcome. I am also interested in how we can more accurately diagnose pneumonia after stroke, better predict which patients are at risk of developing it, and improve care processes/ develop interventions to reduce the occurence of pneumonia.

My research includes experimental studies of respiratory tract infection as a translational infection paradigm in pre-clinical stroke (Professor Stuart Allan, Dr Kieron South). It also includes wide-ranging clinical studies of inflammatory/immune mechanistic and prognostic biomarkers in stroke and infection; plus intervention studies to reduce harmful inflammation produced after stroke, and interventions to reduce the risk of pneumonia by targeting oral biofilm and oro-pharyngeal aspiration. More recently, my research has focused on the links between infection with COVID-19, thromboinflammation and stroke.

I currently supervise/co-supervise 8 PhD students including both clinicians and basic scientists. I lead the Stroke-IMPaCT clinical cohort study and MRC B-cell cohort study at Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences and also the multicentre CHOSEN trial.

My collaborations


1) University of Manchester, Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care: Professor Andy Vail, Dr Matthew Gittins

2) University of Manchester, Division of Neuroscience: Professor Stuart Allan, Dr Kieron South

3) University of Manchester, Division of Human Communications, Development and Hearing: Dr Laura Parkes

4) University of Manchester, Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine: Dr John Grainger, Dr Steve Fowler

5) NWORTH, Bangor University: Professor Paul Brocklehurst

6) UK Dementia Research Institute, Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh: Dr Barry McColl, Dr Laura McCulloch

7) University of Central Lancashire: Professor Caroline Watkins, Professor Liz Lightbody

8) Departments of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford Medical School, USA: Professor Marion Buckwalter

9) Centre for Stroke Research Berlin, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany: Professor Andreas Meisel

10) Depertment of Neurology, Columbia University, New York, USA: Professor Mitch Elkind 

11) Servicio de Neurología Hospital Vall d’ Hebron, Barcelona, Spain: Professor Joan Montaner



Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Membership of The Royal Collge of Physicians (London)

Member of the British Association of Stroke Physicians



BSc (Hons), University of Manchester, 1992

MBChB, University of Manchester, 1995

MRCP (UK), 1999

MD, University of Manchester, 2004

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute


  • stroke; inflammation; immunology; pneumonia; oral hygiene; dysphagia


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