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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.


Dr. Beebe Smith is a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Section on Neuroadaptation and Protein Metabolism of the Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Smith received a Ph.D. from the University of London where she studied the chemical pathology of Alzheimer's Disease with David Bowen, for which she was awarded the Queen Square Prize. She did postdoctoral training with Louis Sokoloff at NIMH, and in 1986 became a Senior Investigator within the Laboratory of Cerebral Metabolism, NIMH. In 2000 Dr. Smith was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Linköping for her work developing an in-vivo quantitative autoradiographic method for measurement of regional rates of cerebral protein synthesis in experimental animals. Dr. Smith and her team have adapted the method for use in human subjects with positron emission tomography. Dr Smith's group is currently studying mechanisms underlying brain dysfunction in fragile X syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Research Interests

The research program of the Section on Neuroadaptation and Protein Metabolism studies the regulation of protein synthesis in nervous tissue in vivo.  We use quantitative autoradiography in experimental animals and positron emission tomography in human subjects to quantify regional rates of protein synthesis in brain in vivo under normal physiological and pathological conditions.  Specifically, we are applying this methodology to the study of adaptive responses of the nervous system and diseases in which adaptive responses malfunction.   Presently, research studies focus on two major issues:  1. Autism spectrum disorders in which a dysregulation of cerebral protein synthesis may underlie abnormal phenotypes and 2. The role of protein synthesis in sleep and memory consolidation.

Selected Publications

Qin M, Kang J, Burlin TV, Jiang C, Smith CB (2005). Postadolescent changes in regional cerebral protein synthesis: an in vivo study in the FMR1 null mouse. J Neurosci 25, 5087-95. [Pubmed Link]

Liu ZH, Chuang DM, Smith CB (2011). Lithium ameliorates phenotypic deficits in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 14, 618-30. [Pubmed Link]

Qin M, Huang T, Kader M, Krych L, Xia Z, Burlin T, Zeidler Z, Zhao T, Smith CB (2015). R-Baclofen Reverses a Social Behavior Deficit and Elevated Protein Synthesis in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 18. [Pubmed Link]

Qin M, Schmidt KC, Zametkin AJ, Bishu S, Horowitz LM, Burlin TV, Xia Z, Huang T, Quezado ZM, Smith CB (2013). Altered cerebral protein synthesis in fragile X syndrome: studies in human subjects and knockout mice. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 33, 499-507. [Pubmed Link]

Picchioni D, Schmidt KC, McWhirter KK, Loutaev I, Pavletic AJ, Speer AM, Zametkin AJ, Miao N, Bishu S, Turetsky KM, Morrow AS, Nadel JL, Evans BC, Vesselinovitch DM, Sheeler CA, Balkin TJ, Smith CB (2018). Rates of cerebral protein synthesis in primary visual cortex during sleep-dependent memory consolidation, a study in human subjects. Sleep 41. [Pubmed Link]

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