Constance L. Smith-Hicks, M.D., Ph.D.

Constance Smith-Hicks
Constance Smith-Hicks
Research Scientist

Kennedy Krieger Institute
3901 Greenspring Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21211
Phone: (443) 923-7646

Dr. Smith-Hicks is a research scientist and Director of the Basic Science Research in Fragile X Syndrome at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.  She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Biographical Sketch:

After completing her Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry from the City College of New York (CUNY), Dr. Smith-Hicks entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she obtained her M.D., Ph.D. in 2000.  She trained in Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed her Neurology and Pediatric Neurology training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2005. Dr. Smith-Hicks trained as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, under the guidance of Dr. Paul Worley. She joined the faculty at Kennedy Krieger Institute in 2010 where she now sees patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Rett Syndrome and performs basic science research targeted at disorders of learning and memory. 

Research Summary:

Neuro-developmental disorders affecting learning and memory result from defective communication between neurons. Dr. Smith-Hicks is interested in understanding how neurons are selected to integrate into networks. Her laboratory utilizes molecular, cell imagining, biochemical and electrophysiological techniques, as well as strategies that rely on the cellular reporting of active neurons from awake, behaving animals. She is interested in understanding the effect of imbalance of excitation and inhibition on the ability of neurons to integrate into stable networks. Her work is currently directed at understanding the mechanisms relevant to Fragile X Syndrome and Down syndrome and will examine the impact of novel and current experimental therapies on network formation and stability in mice.

LINK: SciVal Experts Research Profile for Constance Smith-Hicks

Research Publications:

Alberi L, Liu S, Wang Y, Badie R, Smith-Hicks C, Wu J, Pierfelice TJ, Abazyan B, Mattson MP, Kuhl D, Pletnikov M, Worley PF, Gaiano N. Activity-induced Notch signaling in neurons requires Arc/Arg3.1 and is essential for synaptic plasticity in hippocampal networks. Neuron, 69(3), 437-444.

Smith-Hicks C, Xiao B, Deng R, Ji Y, Zhao X, Shepherd JD, Posern G, Kuhl D, Huganir RL, Ginty DD, Worley PF, Linden DJ. SRF binding to SRE 6.9 in the Arc promoter is essential for LTD in cultured Purkinje cells. Nature Neuroscience, 13(9), 1082-1089.

Park S, Park JM, Kim S, Kim JA, Shepherd JD, Smith-Hicks CL, Chowdhury S, Kaufmann W, Kuhl D, Ryazanov AG, Huganir RL, Linden DJ, Worley PF. Elongation factor 2 and fragile X mental retardation protein control the dynamic translation of Arc/Arg3.1 essential for mGluR-LTD. Neuron, 59(1), 70-83.

Kadam SD, Smith-Hicks CL, Smith DR, Worley PF, Comi AM. Functional integration of new neurons into hippocampal networks and poststroke comorbidities following neonatal stroke in mice.. Epilepsy & Behavior, 18(4), 344-357.