Greg was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He completed his B.Sc. at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg and M.Sc. at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town. After a short stint as a Junior Lecturer at the University of South Africa, he completed his Ph.D. in organometallic synthesis at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa in 2004.
He then joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cape Town. His interests in metal-containing polymers lead to him to pursue further studies as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Ian Manners at the University of Bristol (UK) in 2005, studying the controlled, living polymerisation of ferrocenophanes. His main research interests encompass the design, synthesis and characterization of mononuclear and polynuclear inorganic and organic materials, particularly polymer and dendrimer synthesis.
Attendant research focuses on the application of these polynuclear materials as catalysts for various organic transformations and the development of the therapeutic applications for polynuclear transition metal complexes and their bioconjugates in human medicine, particularly diseases endemic to Africa (anticancer / antimalarial / antimycobacterial).
In 2011, Greg Smith was the recipient of the Raikes Medal of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI), for the most distinguished research career for a young chemist in South Africa, whose original chemical research shows outstanding promise. Greg was also the recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award in 2011 at the University of Cape Town, which is the highest accolade given to teaching staff at all levels within the university and recognises excellent teaching. In 2012/2013, together with his PhD students, he was acknowledged through the UCT Research Associates and Supervisors’ Annual Award, in recognition of a PhD student and their Supervisor’s contribution to research at the University of Cape Town. Other outside interests include listening to live music (jazz), watching rugby and soccer, and the occasional movie.