Tara C Smith
Dr. Smith is a Professor of Epidemiology at the Kent State University College of Public Health. An Ohio native, she previously spent 9 years in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, where she directed the College’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and attained the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. While at Iowa, she also obtained a Certificate in Agricultural Safety and Health. She completed post-doctoral training in molecular epidemiology at the University of Michigan prior to beginning her professorship at the University of Iowa. She obtained her PhD at the University of Toledo, investigating the pathogenesis of the Group A Streptococcus, and her B.S. in Biology from Yale University.
Dr. Smith’s research generally focuses on zoonotic infections (infections which are transferred between animals and humans). She was the first to identify livestock-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the United States, and has pioneered the investigation of this organism in the U.S. Dr. Smith has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. She has received over $3 million in funding from AHRQ, USDA, and NIOSH to carry out these studies. She has presented her research at numerous national and international platforms, including talks on Capitol Hill on the topic of agriculture and antibiotic resistance. Her work has been profiled in many major publications, including Science, Nature, and The New York Times, as well as in "Superbug: the Fatal Menace of MRSA" by Maryn McKenna and "Pig Tales: an Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat" by Barry Estabrook.
Dr. Smith is also very active in science communication and outreach. She has maintained a science blog for 11 years, and has written books on Group A Streptococcus, Group B Streptococcus, and Ebola. A second book on Ebola published by MIT Press, "Ebola's Message," was published in 2016. She also writes about infectious disease for Slate, MentalFloss, and other sites, pens a column for SELF.com, and serves as a member of the advisory board of the Zombie Research Society. She lives in rural Ohio with her partner and her three children.