About Tara C. Smith

Dr. Smith is a Professor of Epidemiology at the Kent State University College of Public Health, which she joined in August 2013. 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 80 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. (Full publication list can be found at Google Scholar or Academia.edu; a full CV can be found here). 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 ScienceNature, 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. In addition to maintaining this blog since 2005, she has written books on Group A StreptococcusGroup 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 SlateMentalFloss, and other sites (full list here), 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. Contact her: tsmit176@kent.edu.

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1 Comment

  1. Did you get the public relations notice on Ron Paul’s claim that DDT could be used to treat ebola?

    They’re offering interviews with Dr. Paul. I’ve asked a couple of questions to preface — like just how he claims “organic chlorides” are being used to treat ebola patients, and how DDT would be used. No answer on that yet.

    Just curious about whether you’d seen it.

    The video at his site is behind a paywall, but a couple of conservative outlets appear to have paid to see it:


    I don’t have your e-mail; you can send me a direct message on Twitter.

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