Associate Professor, Kinesiology
Director, Kinesiology Undergraduate Honors Program
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health
Phone: (301) 405-0344 |
Exercise for Brain Health Laboratory
CV / Resume
PDF icon JCSmithCV_Feb2016_web.pdf

Research Summary:
Dr. Smith is focused on understanding how exercise and physical activity affect human brain function and mental health. Dr. Smith's investigations use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) 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 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 patients with anxiety and/or depressive mood disorders. Visit for more info.


KNES 350 Psychology opf Sports

KNES 498C Exercise and Brain Health

KNES 689X Exercise Neuroscience

KNES 476/478 KNES Honors Seminar and Thesis

  1. Goveas JS, Driscoll I, Espeland MA, Hogan PE, Kesler SR, Manson JE, Rossom RC, Rapp S, Resnick SM, Smith JC, Tindle HA, Yaffe K, Zaslavsky O (2016).  Predictors of optimal cognitive aging in 80+ women: The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study.  The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 71, S62-S71. doi:10.1093/gerona/glv055
  2. Smith JC, Lancaster MA, Nielson KA, Woodard JL, Seidenberg M, Durgerian S, Sakaie K, and Rao SM… (In Press).  Interactive effects of physical activity and APOE-ε4 on white matter tract diffusivity in healthy elders.  NeuroImage. Special Issue: Neuroplasticity. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.08.007 
  3. Reiter K, Nielson KA, Smith TJ, Weiss LR, Alfini AJ, and Smith JC… (2015).  Increased cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with increased cortical thickness in MCI. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 21, 757-767. Special Issue: Physical Activity and Brain Plasticity. doi: 10.1017/S135561771500079X
  4. Smith JC, Erickson KI, and Rao SM (2015). Introduction to the JINS Special Issue: Physical Activity and Brain Plasticity. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 21, 743-744. Invited Editorial for the Special Issue: Physical Activity and Brain Plasticity. doi:10.1017/S1355617715001149
  5. Rao SM…, Bonner-Jackson A, Nielson KA, Seidenberg M, Smith JC, Woodard JL, and Durgerian S (2015).  Genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease alters the five-year trajectory of semantic memory activation in cognitively intact elders. NeuroImage, 111, 136-146.  doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.02.011
  6. Kauffman DC§, Clark JF, and Smith JC… (2015).  The influence of sport goggles on visual target detection in female intercollegiate athletes.  Journal of Sports Sciences, 33, 1117-1123. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2014.987156
  7. Vaughn L, Erickson KI, Espeland MA, Smith JC, Tindle H, and Rapp SR… (2014).  Concurrent and longitudinal relationships between cognitive activity, cognitive performance, and brain volume in older women.  Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 69(6), 826-836. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbu109
  8. Smith JC, Nielson KA, Woodard JL, Seidenberg M, Durgerian S, Hazlett KE, Figueroa CM, Kandah CC, Kay CD, Matthews MA, and Rao SM… (2014).  Physical activity reduces hippocampal atrophy in elders at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6 (61), 1-7. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00061
  9. Sugarman M, Woodard JL, Nielson KA, Seidenberg M, Smith JC, Durgerian S, Norman AL, Matthews MA, Lancaster MA, Hazlett KE, Figueroa CM, Kay CD, Kandah CC, and Rao SM… (2014). Performance variability during a multitrial list-learning task as a predictor of future cognitive decline in healthy elders.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 36, 236-243. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2013.877875
  10. Smith JC…, Nielson KA, Antuono P, Lyons J-A, Hanson RJ§, Butts AM, Hantke N, and Verber MD (2013).  Semantic memory fMRI and cognitive function after exercise intervention in mild cognitive impairment. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 37, 197-215doi: 10.3233/JAD-130467; PMC4643948.
  11. Seidenberg M, Guidotti L, Woodard JL, Nielson KA, Smith JC, Lancaster MA, Matthews M, Hantke NC, Butts AM, and Rao SM… (2013).  Recognition of famous names predicts cognitive decline in healthy elders.  Neuropsychology, 27, 333-342. doi: 10.1037/a0032226
  12. Smith JC…, Nielson KA, Woodard JL, Seidenberg M, and Rao SM (2013). Physical activity and brain function in older adults at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Sciences, 3, 54-83.  doi: 10.3390/brainsci3010054.  Invited review, special issue: Exercise and Brain Function.
  13. Smith JC… (2013).  Effects of emotional exposure on state anxiety after acute exercise.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45, 372-378. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31826d5ce5