Skip to main content

Steven R. Smith

Steven R. Smith

Senior Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer

Steven R. Smith


In administrative roles, Dr. Smith is Senior Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer of AdventHealth Research Institute Orlando guiding the research vision and scientific expansion of Florida’s largest network of hospitals. He also currently serves as the Scientific Director of the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, which is dedicated to the study of obesity, metabolism, diabetes, and the metabolic origins of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Steven R. Smith earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, in 1988. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, in 1991. He subsequently completed a two-year fellowship in clinical endocrinology and metabolism at the Ochsner Clinic and Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He was a faculty member at Pennington Biomedical Research Center for 15 years. 

Dr. Smith’s work bridges the gap between cell/molecular biology and clinical care. This approach is known as translational medicine and involves translating discoveries in the basic sciences into the clinic and using clinical knowledge to direct the basic scientist. 

His research is focused on obesity, diabetes and the metabolic origins of cardiovascular disease. He is specifically focused on how individuals differ in their ability to adapt to diets high in fat and understanding how obesity leads to type 2 diabetes. Using the translational medicine approach, Dr. Smith discovered that many obese people have an inability to burn fat and a new system to increase fat and energy metabolism. Most importantly, the discovery that the inability to burn fat is programmed into muscle cells provides a novel way to identify and test new treatments for obesity and diabetes. 

In the clinic, Dr. Smith has a special interest in the identification and development of drugs for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. His translational work demonstrated that each person is unique at the molecular level, suggesting new ways to match therapies to the individual; this is the goal of the new field of ‘personalized’ medicine. 

Dr. Smith’s research is currently funded by the NIH (2 R01 grants), industry, and several philanthropic organizations.  In his research career, Dr. Smith has published more than 160 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, reviews and chapters and is active in physician education.