Professor Maree Smith


Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development
Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


School of Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Affiliate Professor

Institute for Molecular Bioscience
+61 7 336 52554


Professor Maree Smith is Executive Director, CIPDD/TetraQ, Faculty of M+BS (80%) and Head, Pain Research Group, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of HABS (20%).

Over the past decade, Professor Maree Smith built the CIPDD/TetraQ through application of her deep scientific knowledge and expertise together with skilful strategic leadership, tireless effort and successful industry engagement. The net result is that in 2015, the CIPDD/TetraQ is recognized as the premier, GLP-accredited discovery/translation research Centre in Australia. Internationally, Professor Smith is a leading researcher in drug discovery/translation.

In the 15 years prior to establishing the CIPDD, Professor Maree Smith was a full-time academic in the School of Pharmacy. In brief, she joined the School of Pharmacy as a Lecturer in 1989 and was successively promoted through the academic ranks to Professor in 2004. Prior to that she undertook a PhD and early postdoctoral training in clinical pharmacology with specialist expertise in bioanalytical method development, bioanalysis of human plasma samples, drug metabolism and clinical pharmacokinetics. Her second postdoc was in the field of pain management and pain pharmacology.

In the years, 1990-2005, Maree Smith taught in the Drug Discovery stream of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th years of the undergraduate pharmacy program and she was instrumental in developing innovative courses for the final year of the undergraduate Pharmacy curriculum. More recently, she was instrumental in the development of a course for the M Biotech program at UQ entitled “Quality Systems in Biotechnology”. It was delivered successfully for the 5th time in 2014. Maree has successfully advised/co-advised to completion 24 PhD students, 2 Research Masters students and ~40 Honours students. She also served for 14 years as an external evaluator for the TGA.

Maree's Research Interests are as follows:

1. Accelerating Discovery-Translation through collaboration with discovery researchers to undertake:

(i) In vivo efficacy profiling and mode of action studies using her portfolio of rodent pain models that mimic individual human pain conditions

(ii) Adverse event assessment (clinical signs, body weight, sedation, respiratory depression, constipation, etc)

2. Investigation of the pathobiology of individual neuropathic pain conditions, e.g. cancer chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), antiretroviral drug induced peripheral neuropathy, painful diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, MS-associated neuropathic pain, prostate cancer induced bone pain, breast cancer induced bone pain, capsaicin-induced hindpaw hypersensitivity

3. Investigation of the pathobiology in individual inflammatory pain conditions, e.g. osteoarthritis, cancer induced bone pain

4. Investigation of the pathobiology of chronic mechanical low back pain

5. pioid pharmacology: In vivo profiling of novel opioid ligands to identify new molecules from collaborators that produce potent analgesia with markedly reduced adverse event profiles


2015 Inaugural Member of the Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ) Hall of Fame

2015 Johnson and Johnson Innovaton AusBiotech Industry Excellen Award - Outstanding Leader category.

2015 Elected Fellow, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS)

2015 Australian Pain Society Distinguished Member Award - For services to the promotion, treatment and science of pain management and lifelong contribution to the Australian Pain Society

2013 UQ Top 5 Inventor - Award by Thomson Reuters and UQ at inaugural Awards

2013 UQ Top 5 Innovator - Award by UniQuest Pty Ltd and UQ at inaugural Awards

2012 Queensland Life Sciences Industry Excellence Award jointly with Dr Jim Aylward

2011 Elected Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences (ATSE)

2009 Honorary Fellowship, Faculty of Pain Medicine, ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists).

2008 WiT (Women in Technology): Biotech Outstanding Achievement Award

2002 Meritorious Mention for Sustained Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision

2001 Meritorious Mention for Sustained Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision

Research Impacts

Maree is a leading researcher internationally in drug discovery-translation exemplified by the fact that her patented novel analgesics technologies have been licensed to three UQ spin-out companies for commercialisation. One of these, Spinifex Pharmaceuticals formed in 2005 to commercialize her invention of angiotensin II type 2 (AT2) receptor antagonists as novel analgesics for the relief of neuropathic pain and chronic inflammatory pain, has shown in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that the drug candidate, EMA401, is efficacious and well-tolerated for the relief of neuropathic pain in patients with post-herpetic neuralgia, a type of pain that is often intractable. On June 28 2015, Spinifex Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Novartis for US$200 million plus considerable milestone payments reported in the financial press as the largest biotech deal ever in Australia.

Also, she has highly specialized expertise in the pain field as she and her research team have developed a portfolio of 15 innovative rodent pain models that more closely mimic individual human pain conditions, and that are unique in Australia and rare internationally. These models combined with the CIPDD/TetraQ’s internationally recognized quality credentials (OECD GLP and ISO17025 from the National Association of Testing Authorities) means that these capabilities are unique in Australia and rare outside of large pharmaceutical companies internationally.


  • Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours, The University of Queensland
  • PhD, The University of Queensland


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View all Supervision

Available Projects

View all Available Projects


Book Chapter

  • Smith, Maree T. and Muralidharan, Arjun (2014). Pain pharmacology and the pharmacological management of pain. In Hubert van Griensven, Jenny Strong and Anita M. Unruh (Ed.), Pain: a textbook for health professionals 2nd ed. (pp. 159-180) London, United Kingdom: Elsevier.

  • Watson, C. Peter N., Gilron, Ian, Pollock, Bruce G., Lipman, Arthur G. and Smith, Maree T. (2013). Antidepressant analgesics. In Stephen B. McMahon, Martin Koltzenberg, Irene Tracey and Dennis C. Turk (Ed.), Wall and Melzack's textbook of pain 6th ed. (pp. 465-496) Philadelphia, United States: Elsevier Saunders.

  • Smith, Maree T. and Muralidharan, Arjun (2013). Pharmacogenetics of pain. In eLS: Citable Reviews in the Life Sciences (pp. 1-12) Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/047001590X

  • Smith, Maree T. and Goh, Wei H. (2011). Opioid analgesics. In Gabor B. Racz and Carl E. Noe (Ed.), Pain management: Current issues and opinions (pp. 287-306) Rijeka, Croatia: Intech Open Access.

  • Smith, Maree T. and South, Samantha M. (2008). Pain pharmacology and analgesia. In H. Majewski (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (pp. 1-80) Oxford, U.K.: EOLSS Publishers.

  • Smith, M. T. (2003). Neurobiology of Pain: Identification of novel targets for new pain management medications. In G. Keri and I. Toth (Ed.), Molecular Pathomechanisms and New Trends in Drug Research 1 ed. (pp. 302-318) London & New York: Taylor & Francis.

  • Mather, L. E. and Smith, M. T. (1999). Clinical pharmacology and adverse effects. In Christoph Stein (Ed.), Opioids in pain control: Basic and clinical aspects (pp. 188-211) New Jersey, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.