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Brad Smith



Brad Smith, wearing dark framed glasses, a shirt and sweater


Curriculum Vitae
  • PhD, Anatomy - Developmental Biology, Duke University
  • MA, Medical Illustration, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • BUS, Art/Biology, University of Utah

Brad Smith, visual artist/designer/imaging researcher, explores the intersection of life sciences and image-making at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. Smith was Adjunct Professor of Radiology at Michigan from 2010 -2020. His creative work joins science and art, with a focus on biotechnology and its impact on society’s understanding of the social, ethical, and political status of biological subjects. His research explores visualization methods for the study of cardiovascular development and has established protocols for Magnetic Resonance Microscopy study of development. He creates animations and graphics demonstrating developmental biology for museums and documentary film companies, including National Geographic, BBC, Nova, and the Discovery Channels.

More recently, his Greenfield project includes the reseeding of 5,000 sq. ft of suburban lawn with an experimental field of grasses and plants native to the midwestern plains of North America. It deliberates the culling of non-native, invasive, but naturalized species from the evolving meadow vs. allowing them to compete with the natives insinuated into this reformation attempt. Part of the project includes photomicrosopic and macroscopic documentation of the explanted and volunteer arrivals to the field, to portray the array of life striving to make a home in this newly disturbed ground.

Prior to joining the University of Michigan faculty, Smith was an assistant research professor in the Department of Radiology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. There, he initiated a major NIH-funded project to study developmental biology with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). At Duke, Smith created innovative visualization methods to study cardiovascular development and established globally adapted protocols for MRI studies of embryos using novel imaging contrast agents. His research has been published in journals such as The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Developmental Biology, and Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and popular media such as Scientific American. He has served as principal investigator on major NIH and state-supported projects.

At the Stamps School, Smith’s academic administrative work connects visual creative practices with practices in the sciences, humanities, and professional schools. As Associate Dean for Graduate Education of the Stamps School from 2004 to 2013, Smith led the implementation of an interdisciplinary Masters of Fine Arts curriculum to engage the creative work of artists and designers with work from disciplines such as the life sciences, sociology, education, law, ecology, politics, business, and other fields. Prior to that he served as director of the graduate program in Biomedical Illustration at Michigan.

Smith has also taught classes in visualization and visual culture in the School of Medicine at Nanjing University (2013-14) during a sabbatical leave from Michigan.