• Faculty

  • Davida Smyth

    Associate Professor of Natural Sciences

    Email
    davidasmyth@newschool.edu

    Office Location
    B - Eugene Lang College Building - 65 West 11th Street

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    Davida Smyth

    Profile

    Davida S. Smyth received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland and completed her postdoctoral training at New York Medical College, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and New York University. She has served as Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Natural Sciences in Mercy College’s School of Health and Natural Sciences. There she taught environmental science, introductory biology, microbiology, and genetics and developed classroom-based research experiences in microbial genomics. Previously, she was a Assistant Research Scientist in Richard Novick's lab at NYU Langone Medical Center, was an Adjunct Lecturer for the online Masters in Bioinformatics program at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Assistant Professor of Biology at New York City College of Technology (NYCCT). Her research focus is in the field of microbial epidemiology and genomics and she has more than 20 original articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is an Associate Editor for both BMC Infectious Diseases and Plos One. She is an external committee member for Mercy College's Adjunct Academy component of their Inclusive Excellence Project and their Peer Led Team Learning Program for Biology, Chemistry and Psychology students. In 2019, she was invited to the steering committee of the Research Experiences in Microbiomes Network (RemNET) of CUNY.

    She is devoted to undergraduate research and her students have presented their work at several national and international meetings including the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) annual conference. With her undergraduate team, she researches the role of the built environment and anthropogenic activity in driving antibiotic resistance, a major global health threat. She also engages in pedagogical research on improving civic and scientific literacy in biology and integrating authentic research into the curriculum to improve student engagement and success in science. Dr. Smyth also guides and mentors future faculty and adjuncts to successfully apply for academic positions in teaching and beyond. Since 2014, she has been involved with SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) and was appointed a SENCER Senior Leadership Fellow in 2018. She was awarded the Mercy College Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018.  

    At the New School, she directs the Biosafety Level 2 research lab and has developed several new courses that involve undergraduates in research and incorporate civic engagement and social justice into the curriculum. Her freshman seminar "How the Toilet Changed the World" teaches students about the role and impact of sanitation on our society and about the ongoing and future challenges associated with both access to toilets and sustainable toilet design. Her "Microbial Ecologies" course teaches students about the importance of microbes in our world and how we need to protect and preserve microbial diversity for planetary health. Students also participate in Tiny Earth, searching for novel antibiotic producing microbes from the NYC urban soil and water environments. Her "Microbiome of Urban Spaces" course involves students in the study of the microbiome of our built spaces. Students choose their own research site and study it using next generation sequencing technology and our iSeq sequencer. Dr. Smyth also mentors students as part of the Urban Barcode Research Program of Cold Spring Harbor Labs.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Degrees Held

    • Ph.D. in Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 2005
    • Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 2004
    • BA (MOD) in Microbiology, Dept. of Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 2001  

    Professional Affiliation

    • American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
    • New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS)
    • Society for Applied Microbiology (SFAM)
    • Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
    • Empire State Association of Two-Year College Biologists (ESATYCB)
    • Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER)
    • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
    • Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER)
    • Associate Editor for BMC Infectious Diseases
    • Associate Editor for Plos One    

     

     


    Recent Publications

    Peer Reviewed Publications (Since 2010)

    1. Sieg, D., Beverly, N., Narayanan, M., Sabbatini, J., Surendran, G., and Smyth, D.S. (2019). Incubating the SENCER ideals with project-based learning and undergraduate research: perspectives from two liberal arts institutions Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. 2019 11(1):50-63.
    2. Smyth, D. An authentic course based research experience in antibiotic resistance and microbial genomics. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. 2017 8(2):59-65.
    3. But, J., Brown, PA and Smyth, DS. Reading Effectively Across the Disciplines (READ): A Strategy to Improve Student Success. Insight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching. 2017. 12:30-50.
    4. Martínez-Rubio R, Quiles-Puchalt N, Martí M, Humphrey S, Ram G, Smyth D, Chen J, Novick RP, Penadés JR. Phage-inducible islands in the Gram-positive cocci. ISME J. 2016 Dec 13. PubMed PMID: 27959343.
    5. Rose HR, Holzman RS, Altman DR, Smyth DS, Wasserman GA, Kafer JM, Wible M, Mendes RE, Torres VJ, Shopsin B. Cytotoxic Virulence Predicts Mortality in Nosocomial Pneumonia Due to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. J Infect Dis. 2015 Jun 15;211(12):1862-74. PubMed PMID: 25298028.
    6. Mendes RE, Deshpande LM, Smyth DS, Shopsin B, Farrell DJ, Jones RN. Characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains recovered from a phase IV clinical trial for linezolid versus vancomycin for treatment of nosocomial pneumonia. J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Nov;50(11):3694-702. PubMed PMID: 22972817.
    7. Smyth DS, Kafer JM, Wasserman GA, Velickovic L, Mathema B, Holzman RS, Knipe TA, Becker K, von Eiff C, Peters G, Chen L, Kreiswirth BN, Novick RP, Shopsin B. Nasal carriage as a source of agr-defective Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. J Infect Dis. 2012 Oct;206(8):1168-77. PubMed PMID: 22859823.
    8. Chen L, Shopsin B, Zhao Y, Smyth D, Wasserman GA, Fang C, Liu L, Kreiswirth BN. Real-time nucleic acid sequence-based amplification assay for rapid detection and quantification of agr functionality in clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates. J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Mar;50(3):657-61. PubMed PMID: 22219302.
    9. Smyth DS, Wong A, Robinson DA. Cross-species spread of SCCmec IV subtypes in staphylococci. Infect Genet Evol. 2011 Mar;11(2):446-53. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2010.12.005. PubMed PMID: 21172458.
    10. Guinane CM, Ben Zakour NL, Tormo-Mas MA, Weinert LA, Lowder BV, Cartwright RA, Smyth DS, Smyth CJ, Lindsay JA, Gould KA, Witney A, Hinds J, Bollback JP, Rambaut A, Penadés JR, Fitzgerald JR. Evolutionary genomics of Staphylococcus aureus reveals insights into the origin and molecular basis of ruminant host adaptation. Genome Biol Evol. 2010 Jul 12;2:454-66. PubMed PMID: 20624747.
    11. Chen L, Mediavilla JR, Smyth DS, Chavda KD, Ionescu R, Roberts RB, Robinson DA, Kreiswirth BN. Identification of a novel transposon (Tn6072) and a truncated staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec element in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ST239. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Aug;54(8):3347-54. PubMed PMID: 20479198.
    12. Smyth DS, McDougal LK, Gran FW, Manoharan A, Enright MC, Song JH, de Lencastre H, Robinson DA. Population structure of a hybrid clonal group of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, ST239-MRSA-III. PLoS One. 2010 Jan 5;5(1):e8582. PubMed PMID: 20062529.
    13. Wong A, Reddy SP, Smyth DS, Aguero-Rosenfeld ME, Sakoulas G, Robinson DA. Polyphyletic emergence of linezolid-resistant staphylococci in the United States. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Feb;54(2):742-8. PubMed PMID: 19933808.

    Other Publications

    1. Banks, M., Smyth, D.S. (2018). Pathogens and plastic: Sustainable Science at the New School. Available from https://tishmancenter.org/pathogens-and-plastic-sustainable-science-at-the-new-school/
    2. Smyth, D.S. and others from The New School. (2008). How To Close The Gap: What We Need To Do and What We Actually Do About Climate Change. Available from https://medium.com/@TheNewSchool/winning-slowly-is-the-same-as-losing-bf69a6e8bde2
    3. Smyth, D.S. (2016). How mighty microbes and genomics can be used to make biology relevant to our students. Published in the Fall Newsletter of the Empire State Association of Two Year College Biologists.
    4. Smyth, D. S (2014). Antibacterials In Building Products: The Good, The Bad and the Downright Ugly. Available from: http://www.healthybuilding.net/news/2014/11/19/antibacterials-in-building-products-the-good-the-bad-...

     


    Performances and Appearances

    Posters, Panels, & Oral Presentations (Since 2015)

    1. Smyth, D.S. (2019). Colleges as ecosystems: Lessons learned from microbial networks.  Undergraduate Education in Biology Gordon Research Conference. Poster. June 2019.  
    2. Nguyen, A.V., Li, G., Mata, D., Bermudes, O., Fernandez, M., Pubhill, K., Santana, J., Kim, W., Chimbay, E., Eralte, J., Smyth, D., Orlofsky, A., and Khan, M. (2019). Using Isothermal Loop Amplification (LAMP) as a Tool to Involve Undergraduates in High-Impact Educational Practice. April 5th. STEM, Humanities and Social Justice, SENCER Regional Meeting. The New School, NY. Poster
    3. Conefrey, T. & Smyth, D.S. (2019). ePortfolios for Academic Identity and Civic Engagement in Diverse Student Populations. Summer 2019
    4. Smyth, D. and Liou-Mark, J (2019). Peer-Led Team Learning at Mercy College. Jan 16th. Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. Workshop.
    5. Conefrey, T. & Smyth, D.S. (2019) ePortfolios for Academic Identity and Civic Engagement in Diverse Student Populations. The 10th Annual ePortfolio Forum. January 26. Atlanta, GA. Workshop Session. Workshop.
    6. Smyth, DS (2018). What makes Superbugs super and how can we resist them? Science Fiction and Speculative Futures Class. November 19th. The University of Arizona, AZ. Via ZOOM. Guest lecture.
    7. Gardner, J., Smyth, D.S., Bautista, R., Corr, J. and Godelnik, R. (2018) 1.5C for Victory Let's get this %#@$ done! Panel. Dec 3rd. Parsons School of Design, New York. Panel.
    8. Smyth, D.S. (2019).  Superbugs Survival in the Built Environment. Feb 11th. Biodesign Seminar Series. The New School. NY. Guest lecture.
    9. Smyth, D.S. (2019). Sustainable Science: When pathogens enter the lab. Feb 11th. Waste and Justice University Lecture course. Guest lecture
    10. Smyth, D.S. (2019). Tiny Earth Workshop. World Science Academy and Festival. March 21st. High School for Health Professions and Human Services. New York. NY. Workshop.
    11. Smyth, D.S. (2019). Micropipetting and streaking workshop. World Science Academy and Festival. March 6st. The Advanced Science Research Center of CUNY. City College. NY. Workshop.
    12. Sara Danzi-Engoron, Maria Entezari, Kathleen Landy and Davida Smyth (2019). Pedagogy and Classroom Engagement Panel. January 23rd. 5th Annual Faculty Development Retreat. Queensborough Community College. Panel.
    13. Smyth, D.S. (2019). Tiny Earth Workshop. World Science Academy and Festival. March 28st. The Beacon Highschool. New York. NY. Workshop.
    14. Devoy, L., Smyth, D.S., Burke, R. and Seto, J. (2019). Microbial adaptation to herbivorous diets between turtle species. June 20-24. The American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. Poster.
    15. Smyth, DS (2018). What makes Superbugs super and how can we resist them? Biomedical Informatics Colloquium. December 5th. New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn, NY. Guest lecture.
    16. Sieg, D. & Smyth, D.S. (2018) Course-based Authentic Research Experiences and Opportunities. SENCER Summer Institute. Aug 2nd to 5th. Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA. Oral Presentation
    17. Smyth, D.S. (2018) Scaffolding PBL and CUREs Across the Curriculum. SENCER Summer Institute. Aug 2nd to 5th. Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA. Oral Presentation
    18. Narayanan, M., Sabatini, J., Surendran, G., Devanas, M. and Smyth, D.S. (2018) A Project-Based Learning (PBL) Approach For Engaging Students in Undergraduate Chemistry Courses. SENCER Summer Institute. Aug 2nd to 5th. Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA. Poster
    19. Smyth, D.S. (2018) Improving Civic and Scientific Literacy through Scaffolded Thematic Classroom Research Experiences. 8th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research. July 26-28th. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN. Poster
    20. Smyth, D.S. (2018) Improving Civic and Scientific Literacy through Scaffolded Thematic Classroom Research Experiences. Wicked Problems: Investigating real-world problems in the biology classroom. June 18-23rd Harvey Mudd. Claremont, CA. Poster
    21. Smyth, D.S. (2018) Improving Civic and Scientific Literacy through Scaffolded Thematic Classroom Research Experiences. PKAL Massachusetts Regional Summer Meeting. June 15th. Salem State University. Salem, MA. Oral Presentation
    22. Smyth, D.S., Powers, K., Colby, K., Knopp-Kelly, M (2018). Improving civic and scientific literacy among minority students with collaborative experiences. SABER National Meeting. July 27-29th. University of Minnesota, MN. Oral Presentation
    23. Smyth, D.S. (2018) Improving Civic and Scientific Literacy through Scaffolded Thematic Classroom Research Experiences. Food Energy Water Nexus, May 22-23rd. Virginia Polytechnic Conference Center. Washington, DC. Poster
    24. Smyth, D.S. (2018) Resisting superbugs in the built environment. Oral presentation. The New School. Jan 29th. 2018.
    25. Smyth, D.S. (2018) Teaching and Pedagogical Research. Queensborough Faculty Retreat. Jan 25th 2018. Panel
    26. Smyth, D.S. (2017) Faculty positions in academia. What you can be with a PhD, A Science and Technology Focused Career Convention. Nov 5th 2017. NYU Langone Medical Center, NYC. Panel
    27. Smyth, D.S. and Hlawaty, H. (2017). Hustle and Flow: Keeping the Curriculum Sound with a Transient Teaching Corps. SENCER SCI-MidAtlantic Meeting. Sept 26th. Molloy College, Long Island, NY. Oral Presentation
    28. Ellison, I., & Smyth, D.S. (2017). How the Toilet Changed the World. Panel for World Toilet Day. November 17th. Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. Panel
    29. Smyth, D.S. (2017). Tackling antibiotic resistant bacteria in our changing urban environment. Environmental Health and Health of the Environment Conference. Nov 18th. St Francis College, Brooklyn, NY. Keynote address.
    30. Smyth, D.S. (2017) Oral Presentation. Leveraging Civic Engagement in Upper Level Courses: Introducing the "Microbiology of Urban Spaces". Talk at Rider University Faculty Seminar Day.
    31. Smyth, D.S. (2017) Leveraging Civic Engagement in Upper Level Courses: Introducing the "Microbiology of Urban Spaces". SENCER Summer Institute. Aug 3rd to 6th. Stony Brook University, Long Island, NY. Oral Presentation
    32. Narayanan, M., Sabatini, J., Surendran, G., Devanas, M. and Smyth, D.S. (2017). A course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) in General Chemistry I. SENCER SCI-MidAtlantic Meeting. Sept 26th. Molloy College, Long Island, NY.
    33. Smyth, D.S. (2017) Oral Presentation. Leveraging Civic Engagement in Upper Level Courses: Introducing the "Microbiology of Urban Spaces". MACUB.
    34. Smyth, D.S. (2017) Improving Civic and Scientific Literacy through Scaffolded Thematic Classroom Research Experiences. Poster Presentation. Gordon Undergraduate Biology Education Research Conference, July 9th to 14th 2017. Stonehill College, Easton, MA.
    35. Smyth, D.S. (2017) Improving Civic and Scientific Literacy through Scaffolded Thematic Classroom Research Experiences. The American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA.
    36. Seto, J., and Smyth, D. (2017). Using next generation sequencing technology to elucidate the microorganism diversity in different water sites in Brooklyn. The American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting. New Orleans, La. Poster and Oral Presentation.
    37. Smyth, D. (2017). Soil and water in NYC. Queensborough College. Panel.
    38. Smyth, D.S. (2016) Improving Civic and Scientific Literacy through Scaffolded Thematic Classroom Research Experiences. Poster Presentation. SENCER Summer Institute. July 28th to Aug 1st 2016. Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL.
    39. Ellison, I., & Smyth, D.S. (2016) How the Toilet Changed the World. Panel for World Toilet Day. November 18th, 2016. Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY.
    40. Elison, I., & Smyth, D.S. (2016) Summer of Zika. Social & Public Health Impact of the Zika Epidemic. Panel presentation. April 6th. Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY.
    41. Smyth, D.S. (2016) The Latest News on MRSA. Oral Presentation. April 19th From Ebola to Zika: Present and Emerging Infectious Diseases. A conference at Columbia University sponsored by the University Seminars, Population Biology #521
    42. Smyth, D.S. (2016). Microbiology of the built environment: The changing microbiome or “staphome” of New York City College Campuses. February 22th. Invited talk at PACE University, New York, NY.
    43. Matthews, A., Bilello, Maria-Elena, Smyth, D and But, J (2015). Back to Basics: Improving Reading in Dental Hygiene Courses. CDHA National Conference. Oct 29-31. Victoria, British Columbia.
    44. Smyth, D.S. (2015) Careers in Teaching and Education. Panel Presentation. What you can be with a PhD, A Science and Technology Focused Career Convention. Oct 25th 2015. NYU Langone Medical Center, NYC.
    45. Smyth, D.S., and But, J. (2015) When There is No College Reading. Oral Presentation. SENCER Regional Conference. Oct 16th 2015. New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn, NY.
    46. Seto, J. and Smyth D.S. (2015). Using Technology both inside and outside the Classroom: How RNAseq, Metagenomics and Bioinformatics can be Combined as Both Teaching and Research Tools with Undergraduate Students. Oral Presentation. The 48th Annual Conference of the Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists. November 7th 2015. Montclair State University, NJ.
    47. Culhane, T.H., Elison, I., and Smyth, D.S. (2015) How the Toilet Changed the World. Panel for World Toilet Day. November 17th, 2015. Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY.
    48. Culhane, T.H., Elison, I., and Smyth, D.S. (2015) Gender, Water and Sanitation: Interlinkages in Sustainable Development. Panel. November 3rd, 2015. Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY.
    49. D. S. Smyth, M. Lam, W.P.K. Tsang and Fabiola Fontaine. (2015) Microbiology of the Built Environment: The changing microbiome of New York City College of Technology. Gordon Research Conference. South Hadley, MA. July 12-17, 2015. Poster Presentation
    50. D. S. Smyth, M. Lam, W.P.K. Tsang and Fabiola Fontaine. (2015) Microbiology of the Built Environment: The changing microbiome of New York City College of Technology. Microbes in the city: Mapping the urban genome. New York Academy of Science, NYC. June 19th 2015. Poster Presentation
    51. Smyth, D.S. The READ initiative. CUNY Assessment Seminar, John Jay, CUNY, March 2015.

     


    Research Interests

    • Microbial Ecology and Genomics
    • Antibiotic Resistance
    • Urban Ecosystems
    • Antimicrobials in the Built Environment
    • Student Reading Skills in STEM
    • Planetary Health
    • Food-Energy-Water Nexus
    • Science Education and Civic Engagement
    • Sustainable Science

    Awards And Honors

     

    Curriculum Development and Teaching Grants

    • HHMI 2017 – Inclusive Excellence Initiative – Leadership Team Member – Adjunct Academy Director.
    • Mercy Teaching Innovation Microgrant “The Initiative for Research and Education in Genomics,” ($2435)
    • US Department of Education (P031C160054) Title III HSI STEM and Articulation grant, Peer Led Team Learning Activity Director ($4 million), 2016.
    • Mercy Micro Grant for Course Redesign, “The Initiative for Research and Education in Genomics: Establishment of DNA Sequencing Facilities at Mercy  College Allowing the Redesign of Existing Courses and the Development of New Courses”, 2016.
    • Mercy Micro Grant for Course Redesign, “Microbiology of the Built Environment”, 2015.
    • Perkins Grant for Improvement of Microbiology Course ($16254.88), Principal Investigator, 2013.   
    • Mercy Senate Micro Grant for Student Engagement, “Broadening participation in STEM through high-impact practices: A trio of trips”, 2017, 2016 & 2015  

    Teaching Awards

    • Received Full-Time Teaching Excellence Award at Mercy College, 2018
    • Travel Award to be a Judge at ABRCMS, 2016, 2015
    • Appointed SENCER Leadership Fellow, 2016
    • NSF SENCER Summer Institute Post Implementation Team Award, 2015 & 2014
    • Beitler Foundation Award, 2013  

    Research and Equipment Grants 

    • Tishman Center for Environment and Design Faculty Support Grant ($1500)
    • Lang Faculty Opportunity Award ($2300)
    • Urban Barcode Research Program Grant ($2000)
    • Student Research Assistant Fund ($5100) 
    • Mercy Faculty Development Grant – Project Title: Antimicrobials in Building Products ($3000)
    • Department of Defense Grant, Principle Investigator, Mercy Initiative for Undergraduate Research and Education in Genomics, ($142,771.75) for the  components of a genomics system, an Ion S5, 2016.
    • Mercy College Student/Faculty Research Collaborative Grant, 2016.
    • Mercy Faculty Development Grant, “Using DNA sequencing to determine the prevalence and persistence of pathogens in New York water sites”, 2016. Mercy Faculty Development Grant, “Using omics approaches to investigate the prevalence and persistence of pathogens (P3) in the Mercy Campus”, 2015.
    • Two Biological Sciences Department Research Grants ($19000) – PI and Co-PI, 2014.
    • PSC CUNY Type B Award ($6000), 2013 and PSC CUNY Type C Award ($3000), 2015 & 2014.
    • Graduate Research Technology Initiative Grant (GRTI) ($30826), Principle Investigator, 2012.  

     


    Current Courses

    Advanced Microbiology Research

    First Year Seminar

    Ind Senior Work

    Ind Senior Work (Spring 2019)

    Independent Study

    Independent Study (Spring 2019)

    Microbial Ecologies

    Microbial Ecologies (Spring 2019)

    Microbiome of Urban Spaces

    Microbiome of Urban Spaces (Spring 2019)

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