Professor Craig Smith - BASP Scientific Committee Chair

Professor Craig J Smith BSc (Hons) MBChB MD MRCP

I am Professor of Stroke Medicine at the University of Manchester ( and a consultant in stroke medicine at Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences (MCCN), at Salford Royal. My translational research aims to understand how infection and the immune system contribute to the risk of stroke, stroke pathophysiology and subsequent clinical outcomes. I lead the Manchester Stroke Research Group (, a multi-disciplinary research group bringing together researchers across MCCN and the University of Manchester, which spans basic science (, through clinical trials to implementation research. I am also the Greater Manchester LCRN stroke specialty lead and hyperacute stroke research centre lead for MCCN. I contribute to hyperacute and acute stroke care at the MCCN comprehensive stroke centre, the largest stroke service in the UK. In addition, I have a particular clinical interest in cardioembolic stroke, embolic stroke of undetermined source and stroke in younger people.

Stroke and me

I became interested in stroke medicine whilst undertaking my general internal medicine rotations as a senior house officer (SHO) at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Whilst an SHO in neurology, I went to meet Professor Pippa Tyrrell at Salford Royal to enquire about a clinical research fellow post, which was a turning point in my career. My application for this post was successful and I was very fortunate to work with Pippa Tyrrell and Nancy Rothwell as a clinical research fellow in a Research into Ageing funded study investigating the role of inflammation in acute stroke. Pippa was (and still is) an inspiring mentor and tireless advocate of stroke care and during this formative period I knew that I wanted a career in academic stroke medicine. I subsequently trained in general medicine and geriatrics in the North West, which incorporated neurology outpatient and specialist neurovascular clinics during two of the years. I was also very fortunate to be awarded an out-of programme Stroke Association clinical training fellowship in stroke medicine/ neurology. I was subsequently appointed as a full-time NHS consultant in stroke medicine at Salford Royal in the early stages of centralisation of stroke services in Greater Manchester. In these early years as a consultant I played a key role in hyperacute service development and built up my research portfolio alongside this with dedicated R&D research time. As my research portfolio developed and I transitioned into an independent researcher I was promoted from Honorary to full Professor at the University of Manchester in 2018.

Stroke medicine never ceases to fascinate me in terms of the underlying neurovascular anatomy, basic science, clinical neurology and medicine, imaging technology and the emerging interventions and treatments which are transforming the lives of patients and their families.  I have seen stroke care and outcomes already change beyond recognition since starting out as a junior doctor and feel privileged to work with BASP and the UK stroke community to continue driving stroke care and research forward.