Constance L.

Dr. Smith-Hicks head shot
Neurologist and Research Scientist
Phone: 443-923-2778
Kennedy Krieger Institute

707 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

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Dr. Smith-Hicks is a neurologist and a research scientist at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She has a special interest in the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders that manifest with autism, epilepsy and cognitive challenges. She is the director for the Center for Synaptic Disorders, a program that includes the Rett and Related Disorders Center of Excellence and SYNGAP1 Center of Excellence at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is an associate professor in the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Dr. Smith-Hicks completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry from the City College of New York (CUNY) and the Medical Scientist Training Program at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she obtained her MD, PhD. 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. She then 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 and later joined the faculty at Kennedy Krieger Institute.


Neuro-developmental disorders affecting learning and memory result from defective communication between neurons. Dr. Smith-Hicks’ team works to understand the role of sensory gaiting in neurodevelopmental disorders; translating between human and animal models. Her laboratory utilizes molecular, cell imagining and biochemical techniques, as well as strategies that rely on the cellular reporting of active neurons from awake, behaving animals. Human subject work is targeted to the development of outcome measures and biomarkers. She is involved in both clinical research and clinical trials.

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Research Publications

Zarate YA, Smith-Hicks CL, Greene C, Abbott MA, Siu VM, Calhoun ARUL, Pandya A, Li C, Sellars EA, Kaylor J, Bosanko K, Kalsner L, Basinger A, Slavotinek AM, Perry H, Saenz M, Szybowska M, Wilson LC, Kumar A, Brain C, Balasubramanian M, Dubbs H, Ortiz-Gonzalez XR, Zackai E, Stein Q, Powell CM, Schrier Vergano S, Britt A, Sun A, Smith W, Bebin EM, Picker J, Kirby A, Pinz H, Bombei H, Mahida S, Cohen JS, Fatemi AVernon HJ, McClellan R, Fleming LR, Knyszek B, Steinraths M, Velasco Gonzalez C, Beck AE, Golden-Grant KL, Egense A, Parikh A, Raimondi C, Angle B, Allen W, Schott S, Algrabli A, Robin NH, Ray JW, Everman DB, Gambello MJ, Chung WK (2018). Natural history and genotype-phenotype correlations in 72 individuals with SATB2-associated syndrome. Am J Med Genet A. 176(4), 925-935. 

Srivastava S, Desai S, Cohen J, Smith-Hicks C, Barañano K, Fatemi A, Naidu S (2018). Monogenic disorders that mimic the phenotype of Rett syndrome. Neurogenetics. 19(1), 41-47. 

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 (2011). Activity-induced Notch signaling in neurons requires Arc/Arg3.1 and is essential for synaptic plasticity in hippocampal networks. Neuron. 69(3), 437-44. 

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 (2010). SRF binding to SRE 6.9 in the Arc promoter is essential for LTD in cultured Purkinje cells. Nat Neurosci. 13(9), 1082-9. 

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 (2008). 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.