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Lavinia Smith was a virologist and the paternal aunt of Sarah Jane Smith. She had written a paper on the teleological response of the virus that the Doctor considered to be a "most impressive piece of work." (DW: "The Time Warrior")


Based upon the Doctor's guess that Sarah Jane Smith would have been five years old at the time, it can be assumed that this paper was published during the middle part of the 1950s.

In 1974, she was invited to a space hardware research centre but was unable to attend due to a lecture tour in America. Her niece, by now a journalist, posed as the elder Smith and took her place on the visit to the research centre. (DW: "The Time Warrior")