Cody J. Smith, the Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher Assistant Professor of Neural Development and Regeneration, has been selected as a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship.
Every year the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation selects 126 promising early-career scholars from the fields of science, engineering, technology, mathematics, and economics, as recipients of the Sloan Research Fellowship. Recipients are awarded a two-year research grant in recognition of their distinguished performance and unique potential to make substantial contributions to their fields, and society.
Smith explains that his lab studies “how the cells in the nervous system organize in the very early stages of nervous system development.” A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Smith earned a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology, with a specific focus on neuronal cells. Subsequently, he went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia, where he redirected the focus of his work to glial cells. “Neurons have been studied for years, but these other cell populations called glial cells outnumber the neuronal cells and we know very little about them,” he explained. Glial cells have been a relatively neglected area of research due in part to the fact that they were once perceived as mere supporting cells for neurons, which functionally drive all behaviors. More recently, however, research has shown that glial cells are involved in early development, learning, and memory. Read More