Sydney Smith



Sydney is entering her third year in Immunology PhD program at UM working in the lab of Charles Parkos. In 2017 Sydney graduated magna cum laude from University of San Diego, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Currently, Sydney serves as a representative for both the Biomedical Graduate Student Government and Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Health and Wellness Committee. Collaborating with these organizations, she is working to find solutions to address food insecurity and wellness issues within the graduate student community. During her first two years at Michigan, Sydney served on the Executive Board for the Association of Women in Science (AWIS). During her time with AWIS Sydney helped launch an after school science mentoring program at Forsythe Middle School, which is now successfully entering its third year.

Research Interests

In response to mucosal injury or infection, neutrophils infiltrate the intestinal mucosa and traverse the epithelium through a coordinated process termed transepithelial migration. Excessive neutrophil transepithelial migration is correlated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Neutrophils transmigration requires coordinated interactions between neutrophil adhesion receptors and epithelial intercellular junctions. Current evidence suggests that epithelial tight junction proteins, including members of the Junctional Adhesion Molecule (JAM) family serve as receptors to migrating neutrophils. Sydney is working to delineate and understand the role of signaling events downstream of JAM family tight junction proteins that occur in response to neutrophil transmigration and intestinal inflammation.


Flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, western blot, recombinant protein purification, ELISA, PCR, RT-qPCR, colonic biopsy-based wounding assisted by a colonocope, in vitro cell culture, in vivo colitis modeling, murine necropsy


Training Grant in Basic and Translational Digestive Sciences, NIDDK DK094775, 2019

Rackham Research Grant, 2019, University of Michigan

Training Grant in Experimental Immunology, 2018, University of Michigan

Alcala Scholar, 2013-2017, University of San Diego

Ernest W. Hahn Endowed Scholarship, 2015-2017, University of San Diego

Top Ten Poster Award, West Coast Biological Undergraduate Research Conference, San Diego, 2016

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2016, Mayo Clinic


Smith, M.S., Azcutia, V., Fan, S., Nusrat, A., Parkos, CA. Neutrophil JAM-L and Epithelial CAR Signaling Regulate Transepithelial Migration of Neutrophils. Pathobiology for Investigators Students and Academicians (PISA). Ann Arbor, MI. Oct. 2018. Poster Presentation.

Smith, M.S., Wothe, J., Haberman, A. Light Dependent Endolysosomal Defects in a Photoreceptor Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Drosophila Genetics Conference. San Diego, CA. April 2017. Poster Presentation.

Smith, M.S., Billadeau, D. Characterization of WASH and CCC Complex Interactions during Phagolysosome Maturation in Bone Marrow Derived Macrophages. Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. Rochester, MN. August 2016. Oral and Poster Presentations.

Smith, M.S., Wothe, J., Haberman, A. The Role of the Lysosome in Drosophila Models of Alzheimer’s Disease. West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference. San Diego, CA. April 2016. Poster Presentation.

Immunology Mentor