Alicia Kay Smith, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Wake Forest University SOM, Winston-Salem, NC
Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA
Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Molecular Genetics
Genetic Epidemiology
Psychiatric Genetics
A. Summary Statement
My expertise is in molecular genetics, specifically focused on the role of genetic and epigenetic
mechanisms in the development and symptoms of stress-related disorders. I am currently involved in several
projects studying specific exposures in subjects ranging from prenatal development to adulthood. Additionally, I
am a co-investigator on federally-funded studies ranging from candidate gene analysis to a genome-wide
analyses in pediatric cohorts. As a result, I have co-authored several manuscripts on the genetic and epigenetic
predictors of numerous health-related outcomes, including gestational age. I was a member of the NIH Special
Emphasis Panels for Epigenetics in Neurodevelopment, Personalized Genomics for Symptom Management,
and Transgenerational Phenotypes and Exploring Drugs of Abuse. I am currently serving as a reviewer on the
Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology (BGES) study section.
B. Positions and Honors
Professional Experience:
Undergraduate Research: Louisiana State University, Mentor John Lynn, Ph.D.
Graduate Research, Wake Forest University, Mentor: Timothy D. Howard, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Life Sciences Department, Winston-Salem State University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Centers for Disease Control, Mentor: Mangalathu Rajeevan, Ph.D
Ad Hoc Reviewer, Special Emphasis Panel for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia
Syndrome, Temporomandibular Dysfunction, CSR, NIH
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University, Mentor: Joseph F.
Cubells, M.D. Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University
Reviewer, Research Grants Program, CFIDS Association of America
Peer Reviewer: Biological Psychiatry, Psychoneuroendocrinology, Hormones & Behavior,
Schizophrenia Research, Stress, and Brain, Behavior, & Immunity, Neuropsychopharmacology,
Gene, Epigenetics, and Genome Research
Member, Faculty Development Committee, Department of Psychiatry, Emory University SOM
Ad Hoc Reviewer, Genetics & Epidemiology of Chronic Disease (Member Conflict Panel)
Ad Hoc Reviewer, Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology Study Section, CSR, NIH
Reviewer, Special Emphasis Panel for Epigenetics in Neurodevelopment, CSR, NIH
Reviewer, US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
Reviewer, Special Emphasis Panel for Special Emphasis - Research on Gulf War Veterans'
Illnesses, CSR, NIH
Reviewer, Special Emphasis Panel for Personalized Genomics for Symptom Management:
Bridging the Gaps from Genomic Discovery to Improved Health Outcomes, CSR, NIH
Reviewer, Special Emphasis - Exploring Drugs of Abuse and Transgenerational Phenotypes,
Reviewer, Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology Study Section, CSR, NIH
Honors and Awards:
Iberia Medical Society Scholarship, New Iberia, Louisiana
LSU Honors Scholarship, Louisiana State University
Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, Louisiana Department of Education
Sophomore Honor Distinction, Louisiana State University
Dean’s Fellowship, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Travel Award for Graduate Students, North Carolina Biotechnology Center
Research Fellowship, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Society of Biological Psychiatry Travel Award
Riken Brain Science Institute Travel Fellowship
ADHD Molecular Genetics Annual Meeting Travel Fellowship
C. Selected Peer-reviewed Publications (of a possible 29)
1. Smith AK, Lange LA, Ampleford EJ, Meyers DA, Bleecker ER, Howard TD. Association of polymorphisms
in CASP10 and CASP8 with FEV/FVC and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in ethnically diverse asthmatics.
Clin Exp Allergy. 2008 Nov;38(11):1738-44.
1. Smith AK, Mick E, Faraone SV. Advances in Genetic Studies of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Current Psychiatry Reports. 2009 Apr;11(2):143-8.
2. Smith AK, Maloney EM, Falkenberg VR, Dimulescu I, Rajeevan MS. An Angiotensin-1 Converting Enzyme
Polymorphism is Associated with Allostatic Load Mediated by C-reactive protein, Interleukin-6 and Cortisol.
Psychoneuroendocrinology 2009 May;34(4):597-606.
3. Brand SR, Brennan PA, Newport DJ, Smith AK, Weiss TE, Stowe ZN. The Impact of Maternal Childhood
Abuse on Maternal and Infant HPA Axis Function in the Postpartum Period. Psychoneuroendocrinology.
2010 Jun;35(5):686-93.
4. Ressler KJ, Mercer KB, Bekh Bradley B, Jovanovic T, Mahan A, Kerley K, Norrholm SD, Kilaru V, Smith
AK, Myers A.J., Ramirez M, Engel A, Hammack SE, Toufexis D, Braas KM, Binder EB and May V. PTSD
is associated with the PAC1 receptor and dysregulation of PACAP. Nature. 2011 Feb 24;470(7335):492-7.
PMCID: PMC3046811
5. PA Brennan, C Hammen, P Sylvers, W Bor, J Najman, P Lind, G Montgomery, AK Smith. Interactions
Between the COMT Val108/158Met Polymorphism and Maternal Prenatal Smoking Predict Aggressive
Behavior Outcomes. Biol Psychol. 2011 Apr;87(1):99-105. PMCID: PMC3081881
6. AK Smith, DJ Newport, MP Ashe, PA Brennan, JL LaPrairie, M Calamaras, CB Nemeroff, JC Ritchie, JF
Cubells, ZN Stowe. Predictors of Neonatal Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Activity at Delivery. Clin
Endocrin 2011 Feb 1. Epub
7. AK Smith, H Fang, T Whistler, ER Unger, MS Rajeevan. Genomic Studies Identify Associations of GRIK2
and NPAS2 with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Neuropsychobiology. 2011;64(4):183-94.
8. AK Smith, JS Simon, EL Gustafson, S Noviello, JF Cubells, MP Epstein, DJ Devlin, P Qiu, JK Albrecht,
CA Brass, MS Sulkowski, JG McHutchinson, AH Miller. Association of a Polymorphism in the Indoleamine2,3-Dioxygenase Gene and Interferon-α-Induced Depression in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C.
Molecular Psychiatry 2011 Jun 21.
9. Smith AK, Conneely KN, Kilaru V, Mercer KB, Weiss TE, Bradley-Davino B, Tang Y, Gillespie CF, Cubells
JF, Ressler KJ. Differential immune system DNA methylation and cytokine regulation in Posttraumatic
Stress Disorder. Amer J Med Gen Pt B 2011 Sep;156(6):700-8.
10. Menon R, Conneely KN, Smith AK. DNA Methylation: An Epigenetic Risk Factor Understudied in Preterm
Birth. J Repro Sci, In Press
11. Schroeder JW, Conneely KN, Cubells JC, Kilaru V, Newport DJ, Knight BT, Stowe ZN, Brennan PA,
Krushkal J, Tylavsky FA, Taylor RN, Adkins RM, Smith AK. Neonatal DNA Methylation Patterns Associate
with Gestational Age. Epigenetics, 2011 Dec; 6(12): 1498 – 1504
12. Kilaru V, Barfield RT, Schroeder JW, Smith AK, Conneely KN. MethLAB: A GUI Package for the Analysis
of Array-Based DNA Methylation Data. Epigenetics, 2012 Mar; 7(3)
13. Schroeder JW, Smith AK, Brennan PA, Conneely KN, Kilaru V, Knight BT, Newport DJ, Cubells JC, Stowe
ZN. DNA Methylation of Neonates Born to Women Receiving Psychiatric Care. Epigenetics, In Press.
14. Smith AK, Conneely KN, Newport DJ, Kilaru V, Schroeder JW, Pennell PB, Knight BT, Cubells JC, Stowe
ZN, Brennan PA. Prenatal Antiepileptic Exposure Associates with Changes in Neonatal DNA Methylation.
Epigenetics. In Press.
15. Barfield RT, Kilaru V, Smith AK, Conneely KN. CpGassoc: an R function for analysis of DNA methylation
microarray data. Bioinformatics, In Press.
D. Current Research Support
Ongoing Research Support
P50 MH077928-01A1 (Stowe)
“Perinatal Stress and Gene Influences: Pathways to Infant Vulnerability”
The center seeks to elucidate the role(s) of perinatal events, susceptibility genes, and fetal exposures on
the vulnerability of the offspring to later psychopathology.
RC1 MH088609-02 (Smith/Brennan)
09/30/2009- 09/29/2011*
“Epigenetic Biomarkers of Early Psychotropic Medication Exposure”
This grant proposes to compare profiles of DNA methylation in umbilical cord blood samples obtained at
delivery from neonates whose mothers were treated with antidepressant, antipsychotic or antiepileptic
medications during pregnancy compared to those who were took no medication.
1K01MH085806-01A1 (Smith)
Genetic & Environmental Risk Factors that Contribute to Childhood Psychopathology
This grant proposes the examination of associations between polymorphisms in GWAS-derived candidate
genes and behavior problems in prospectively-evaluated, high-risk children born to women who were
mentally ill during pregnancy. It will then explore the DNA methylation and mRNA expression patterns of
those candidate genes in placental tissue.
*The K01 award requires that the recipient spend at least 10.8 calendar months of her time doing research.
Thus, the efforts indicated on the awards indicated with a * are subsumed under this requirement.
R01 MH071537-06 (Ressler)
“Genetic and trauma-related risk factors for PTSD”
The grant supports candidate gene studies of post-traumatic stress disorder in inner-city residents exposed
to traumatic events.
Completed Research Support
Postgraduate Research Fellowship
Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Engineering (ORISE)
“Genome-wide Association Study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”
Role: Postdoctoral Trainee
The Profile Study (Miller)
Schering Plow Pharmaceuticals
“Pharmacogenomic Risk Factors of IFN-alpha-induced Neuropsychiatric Side Effects”
This grant seeks to examine role of genetic variation in depressive symptoms that result from interferonalpha treatment of viral hepititus.
Independent Investigator Award (Cubells) 09/01/2009-06/30/2011
“Epigenetic Signatures of Prenatal Exposure to Mood-Stabilizing and Antipsychotic Medications in
the Children of Women with Bipolar Disorder”
This proposal seeks support for studies of DNA methylation in samples collected from infants born to women
with bipolar disorder.
Young Investigator Award (Smith)
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
“Genetic variation in glutamate receptor subunits may contribute to suicidal ideation susceptibility
in pregnancy”
This grant seeks to examine role of genetic variation in glutamate receptor subunits on gene expression
and suicidal ideation during pregnancy.

AKS_Biosketch_032612 - Atlanta Pediatric Research