Dr. J Carson Smith; Principal Investigator

Dr. Smith is focused on understanding how exercise and physical activity affect human brain function and exert effects on cognitive function and mental health. Dr. Smith investigates the effects of acute and chronic exercise on brain function, as measured using multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG), in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Smith and his team are interested in the potential efficacy for exercise to affect brain function and memory in healthy older adults at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease, patients diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and those who are at increased risk for dementia due to metabolic disease and stroke. A primary pbjective of Dr. Smith's research is to test the hypothesis that exercise may promote cognitive stability and possibly delay conversion to Alzheimer’s disease in people who are most at risk for dementia.  Additionally, the lab examines the hypothesis that exercise and physical activity protect against age-related cognitive decline. Another aspect of Dr. Smith’s research involves how acute and chronic physical activity may alter emotional reactivity and attention to emotional stimuli, with implications for anxiety and depressive disorders.

Dr. Smith is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, at the University of Maryland in College Park.


Curriculum Vitae (updated 2012/05/21, pdf)


Dr. Kristy Nielson, PhD; Marquette University Psychology Department and the Medical College of Wisconsin Neurology.
Dr. Piero Antuono, MD; Medical College of Wisconsin Neurology.
Dr. Richard Macko, MD; University of Maryland Baltimore and the Baltimore VA Medical Center

Graduate Students

Alfonso Alfini, University of Maryland
Theresa Smith, University of Maryland
Alissa Butts, Marquette University Psychology.
Ryan Hanson; University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee Psychology.
Nathan Hantke, Marquette University Psychology.

Research Staff 

Matt Verber, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Undergraduate Students

Erin Browning, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee Neuroscience.