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CWRU loses distinguished professor

Dr. Mark Smith, father of two, killed in hit-and-run

Tyler Hoffman

Issue date: 1/21/11 Section: News
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"His passing is a tragic loss for our community. Mark will remain in our hearts and serve as an inspiration in our pursuit to advance the health of humankind," said School of Medicine dean Pamela B. Davis in a letter to the school's faculty and staff regarding the sudden death of professor Mark Smith.

On the morning of Dec. 19, 2010, beloved CWRU School of Medicine professor and researcher Mark Smith was killed in a hit-and-run accident. The accident occurred as Professor Smith was walking home after a visit to a local tavern in Bainbridge Township. However, friends and colleagues agree that Smith will not be remembered by the tragedy, but by the research, mentoring, and dedication throughout his life.

Professor Smith completed his undergraduate education in England, earning his B.Sc. and graduating with honors in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Hatfield College in 1986. He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Nottingham University in 1990. Smith then traveled to Vienna, Austria where he spent two years as a research fellow. It was in 1992 that Smith joined the CWRU community.

At the School of Medicine, Dr. Smith was a professor of pathology and the director of Basic Science Research at the Memory and Cognition Center. He also served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and was the executive director of of the American Aging Association.

Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases became the primary focus of Smith's research at CWRU. His work not only sought to aid in the diagnosis of such ailments, but in the discovery of therapies as well. He was specifically interested in what caused neurons to stop functioning.

He authored over 800 peer-reviewed manuscripts and chapters, and has have been cited in over 21,000 instances, making him one of the most cited and published researchers in several fields of study.

This past summer, Professor Smith was described as a "renegade researcher" by Forbes magazine. The title stemmed from his disagreement with other researchers regarding the best way to slow Alzheimer's Disease. The magazine went on to give him credit for predicting a major drug trial demise two years before its actual failure.
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