Dr. Smit’s research activities focus on the evolution of transposable elements and their impact on the host, primarily through the study of the interspersed repetitive DNA these elements generate. He has co-created and is maintaining a database of such elements and has developed software to annotate and mask transposable element remnants in genomic DNA and to automatically produce repeat libraries for new genomes. Through these activities he has participated in “almost all” mammalian genome analysis projects. A continuous interest is the adoption by the genome of selfish elements as functional units and the subsequent creation of new regulatory networks. He currently further pursuits the study of neutral evolution patterns, the prediction of transcribed regions and phylogenetic analysis at the hand of interspersed repeats, and the reconstruction of an ancestral mammalian genome.
PhD, Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, 1995