In memoriam Mark Smith (1965 – 2010)
Mark A. Smith, professor of pathology at Case Western Reserve University, died Dec. 19 after being struck by a car in suburban Cleveland.
Smith was a renowned Alzheimer’s disease researcher whose work focused on understanding how and why neurons cease to function in neurodegenerative diseases. He also was a Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board member, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and executive director of the American Aging Association.
Smith studied molecular biology and biochemistry at Durham University’s Hatfield College in England and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1986. He then attended Nottingham University, where he received his doctorate degree in 1990. After two years as a postdoctoral biochemist in the division of immunodermatology at Sandoz Forschungsinstitut (now Novartis) in Vienna, Austria, he began working at Case Western Reserve University.
Smith quickly drew attention and accolades, becoming one of the most prolific and cited faculty members on the Case Western campus, numerically accounting for more than 1 percent of publications and 4 percent of citations during the past several years (data from Institute for Scientific Information). He published more than 800 peer-reviewed articles, and his work was cited more than 21,000 times. In 2007, Smith was named the 21st most-cited author (of 3,170) in the fields of neuroscience and behavior during the previous 10 years. In 2009, he was named the No. 3 Alzheimer’s investigator in the world in a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Smith received numerous awards and honors, including two Ruth Salta Junior Investigator Achievement Awards from the American Health Assistance Foundation, making him the first individual ever to receive the honor more than once. He also earned multiple campus awards for teaching and mentoring, such as the 2009 J. Bruce Jackson, M.D., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, one of the highest honors given to a member of the Case Western faculty. Most recently, Smith was named the recipient of the 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology Outstanding Investigator Award and the 2011 Goudie Lecture and Medal.
“Mark Smith’s passion for scientific discovery was matched by his complete dedication to students and colleagues,” Case Western President Barbara R. Snyder said in a press release. “His death is a tragedy for his field, for Case Western Reserve and, most of all, for his family. We extend our deepest sympathies to all who are grieving this terrible loss.”