Brian R. Smith, M.D., a physician-scientist who joined the Yale faculty in 1989, has been named chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and chief of laboratory medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital for a three-year term that began on July 1.

Members of the Department of Laboratory Medicine study the molecular and cellular constituents of blood and other body fluids to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and to gain further insights into the causes of disease. The department also oversees the School of Medicine’s clinical laboratories, in which nearly five million tests are performed each year for Yale-New Haven Hospital and other national and regional health care centers. The faculty also teach the core courses in Blood cell researcher is named new chair of Laboratory Medicine laboratory medicine and microbiology taught to medical students.

Smith, professor of laboratory medicine, medicine and pediatrics, received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. He completed fellowships in hematology, oncology and research pathology at the Brigham, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital in Boston. He has served as vice chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine since 1997.

Smith’s research has focused on how blood platelets and white blood cells, which adhere to one another during inflammation and blood coagulation, interact in health and disease. In approximately 150 journal articles he has explored how the combined actions of these cells may contribute to disorders of the blood and cardiovascular system, metastatic cancer, and complications of blood transfusion and circulatory bypass during cardiac surgery.

Smith succeeds Peter I. Jatlow, M.D., professor of laboratory medicine and psychiatry, who has headed the department since 1984. During Jatlow’s tenure, the department’s research funding increased almost 20-fold. Jatlow, an expert on drugs of abuse, will continue to direct the department’s clinical chemistry laboratory.