Faculty Directory

Smith, J. Carson

Smith, J. Carson

Associate Professor
School of Public Health
Brain and Behavior Institute
2146 School of Public Health

Dr. Smith's investigations use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological testing to examine brain function in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Smith, his team of investigators, and collaborators are interested in the potential efficacy for exercise to affect brain function, physical function, and memory in healthy older adults at genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease, as well as in patients diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). The ultimate goal is to provide evidence for exercise to delay conversion to Alzheimer's disease and protect against age-related cognitive decline. In addition, Dr. Smith examines how acute and chronic exercise or physical activity may alter emotional reactivity, attention allocation, and cognitive function among healthy adults and patients with anxiety and/or depressive mood disorders.


2000- Postdoctoral Research Fellow

2005 NIH NRSA – Affective Neuroscience and Psychophysiology

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Department of Clinical and Health Psychology

NIMH Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention Co-Advisors: Peter J. Lang, Ph.D., Margaret M. Bradley, Ph.D.

1994- Doctor of Philosophy in Exercise Science 2000 Concentration: Exercise Psychology

University of Georgia, Athens, GA Advisor: Patrick J. O’Connor, Ph.D.

1989- Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science 1993 Bachelor of Science in Psychology

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Summa Cum Laude, Double Major

  • Understanding how exercise and physical activity affect human brain function and mental health

$7.9 Million in NIH Awards Propel UMD Aging Research

New multidisciplinary collaborations take on challenges like Alzheimer’s disease prevention.

Brain Study Ventures Into Fear of the Unknown

UMD-Led Team Awarded $3.9M to Understand How Risk and Ambiguity Influence Anxiety

Wearable Tech and Brain Imaging Innovate Treatments for Paranoia

BBI investigators use smartphone data and wrist-worn sleep monitors to inform better treatments for paranoia.

Poster Session Cinches Banner Year for UMD Neuroscience

Dozens of undergraduate students gathered to discuss neuroscience research projects with peers and mentors.

Parents Can Help Guide Black Teens in Healthy Responses to Discrimination, Study Finds

Addressing Underlying Emotions Spurred by Discrimination Could Prevent Depression, Behavior Problems

Research Finds that Exercise Can Change Brain Structure in Healthy Older Adults

A new study used diffusion imaging to measure the microstructure and tissue composition in the hippocampus after 30 minutes of exercise.

Piece of Mind: Upgrade of Campus MRI to Enhance Brain Imaging

Together with major contributions from the BBI and BSOS, a new Research Instrumentation Fund award will improve the temporal and spatial resolution of MR imaging at UMD and enhance campus neuroscience research.

"Forward-Focused Coping" Supports Mental Health During Pandemic

UMD study shows looking to the future, rather than dwelling on trauma, helped older adults’ mental health.

Five UMCP-UMB Collaborations Awarded MPower BHHP Grants

The bi-campus projects will address the brain in health and disease, nervous system injury.

Researchers Aim to Advance Understanding of Alzheimer's Disease Progression

UMD,FDA researchers work to develop a technique to quickly measure the amount of amyloid plaque in the brain

Never Fear, the Maryland Threat Countdown is Here

UMD psychologists pioneer new tools for understanding the brain bases of fear and anxiety.

BBI Awards Seed Grants to Six Interdisciplinary Projects

Funded teams feature UMD faculty from 15 academic departments and six centers and institutes

Clark School faculty 'AIM-HI' to address major health challenges

The new UMB-UMCP program has announced its first grants for projects combining AI and medicine.

Protection Collections Abound for Local Health Care Workers

Campus units donate masks, gloves, and other much-needed supplies.

UMD STEM Students Take the Stage in The Nutcracker

More than a dozen Ballet Company M dancers hail from science and engineering backgrounds

NIH Awards $2M to UMD Entomologist Megan Fritz

Research into mosquitoes carrying West Nile will pinpoint the genes responsible for their attraction to humans.

Ghodssi gives distinguished lecture on devices for gastrointestinal health at EPFL in Switzerland

Trip also included visits to the Wyss Center and Imperial College London.

BBI affiliated faculty receive $8 million NIH grant to combat hearing loss in older people

Multidisciplinary research will examine strategies to improve communication challenges.

Brain and Behavior Initiative partners with Arena Stage

Free night out for students to see the play Smart People, courtesy of BBI and the UMD Division of Research.

Kanold study shows autism may begin early in brain development

Brains of mice with autism-like symptoms develop neural defects when first circuits take shape.

J. Carson Smith and colleagues find that after Just 10 Days of Rest, Brain Benefits of Exercise Diminish - NY Times Article

Study led by J. Carson Smith, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Maryland and senior author of the study finds that after Just 10 Days of Rest, Brain Benefits of Exercise Diminish.

Shackman lab awarded $3.4M NIH grant to clarify the origins of anxiety disorders and depression

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded a 3.4 million dollar grant to the University of Maryland to support research aimed at understanding the mechanism that that promote the development of pathological anxiety and depression.

Maryland research contributes to Google’s AlphaGo AI system

Chang, Fu, Hu and Marcus developed ideas at the core of the system that defeated Go master Lee Se-Dol in early March.

Improving fitness may counteract brain atrophy in older adults, UMD study shows

Exercise may help to reverse neurodegeneration in those with mild cognitive impairment, an early stage of Alzheimer's disease

Sensing Drugged Driving: UMD researchers receive grant for roadside drug test

The research grant is to identify drivers under the influence of illegal drugs

Ghodssi, Bentley patent compounds that give new way to kill drug-resistant bacteria

Compounds stop microbes from forming protective biofilms, and may resurrect effectiveness of older antibiotics.

Dean Gregory Ball Leads Flagship 2020 Working Group

President Wallace Loh recently announced the creation of the Flagship 2020 Commission, which has been charged to create a road map to competitive excellence for the University. Ultimately, the goal of the Commission is to help the University become a top 10 flagship institution.

Resnik, Vaughn-Cooke interviewed about mental health tracking in Newsweek

Technological tools to flag problems could have a huge impact on serious mental illness.

J. Carson Smith shows exercise keeps hippocampus healthy in people at risk for Alzheimer's Disease

Being physically active may offer protection from the neurodegeneration associated with genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease.