Jake Smiley

Assistant Research Associate

Joined the IBRI in August 2023

Jake Smiley

Jake Smiley is a curious scientist with an interest in regenerative medicine using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Smiley started at the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) as a summer intern, followed by a part-time position during his final semester at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), leading to a full-time position after graduation.

At the IBRI, Smiley is helping build an iPSC core dedicated to creating 2D and 3D disease models for a wide range of different diseases and tissue types. Here he also conducts research to improve upon existing differentiation techniques and other culturing techniques.

Before going to college, Smiley served in the Indiana National Guard as a combat engineer. During and after this time in the National Guard, he worked as a concert roadie as a civilian. Frequently traveling all over the US to work at music festivals or large events. Occasionally he would tour with a single band for several months at a time. Touring with artists such as Blake Shelton and Three Days Grace.  

Before joining the IBRI, Smiley attended IUPUI and got an undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. While at IUPUI, he served as a teacher's assistant (TA) for several chemistry courses and developed an intense curiosity for chemistry. In his final semester at IUPUI, Smiley got the honor to serve as the vice president of the student council where he and other members started an event hosting free coffee for undergraduates at the TA staffed resource centers across campus.

During his undergraduate years, Smiley worked in the Weiss Lab at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine. Researching SRY-related XY sex reversal and other transcription factors in the HMG family namely SOX2. Here, he got his first experience in research and developed resilience to the difficulties of the scientific process. Smiley also worked at the IU genetics biorepository where he conducted quality control across several labs and eventually got his first experience culturing iPSCs.

During his free time Smiley enjoys going skateboarding while pulled by his dog, rock climbing and making art.

Areas of Expertise

  • iPSC culture
  • Tissue-specific iPSC differentiation


  • Bachelor of Science (Biology), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 2023