Following a MChem degree in Chemistry at The University of Sheffield, Dr Smallwood obtained a PhD in synthetic inorganic chemistry from the same institution in 2020, under the supervision of Dr Peter Portius. Her PhD research was in the field of main-group coordination chemistry, with a particular focus on pseudohalide ligands in group 14 coordination complexes. This work was funded by a Graduate Teaching Assistant studentship. She gained Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) accreditation in 2017, and moved to Oxford in 2019.
Her research interests include the applications of coordination complexes with unique reactivity, and main-group coordination chemistry. Her educational interests include the development of new practicals in synthetic inorganic chemistry, the introduction and application of research-informed teaching, and training of individuals to teach in these areas.