Maurice Smith

Maurice was the second graduate student to join the lab. He joined in 1995, after having completed a triple major in Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. When he joined, our lab was pretty much an empty room. Along with Kurt Thoroughman, Maurice built much of the robotic apparatus that became the basis for our experiments.

Maurice was an MD/PhD student, enrolled in the Biomedical Engineering program as well as the Medical Student training program at Hopkins. Early in his medical school years he struggled, but despite the early failures, he was able to move forward. With his work, he changed the direction of the lab by studying how diseases that affect the basal ganglia or the cerebellum affect control of movements. He invented the two-state model of motor adaptation, a significant breakthrough that has helped demonstrate that motor learning is supported by multiple timescales of memory. He discovered that a fundamental function of the cerebellum was to learn internal models for the purpose of controlling motion of the arm. He completed his PhD on 12/2000. 

He was awarded the David Israel Macht Prize in recognition of outstanding scientific work by a doctoral student in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He completed the MD program in 2003, and stayed on to do a postdoc in the lab until 2005. He subsequently became an Assistant Professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. He is now the Gordon McKay Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard.

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​​ Motor disorder in Huntington's disease begins as a dysfunction in error feedback control. MA Smith, J Brandt, and R Shadmehr (2000) Nature 403:544-549.   News&Views

Error correction and the basal ganglia. MA Smith and R Shadmehr (2000) Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4:367-369. 

Error correction, the basal ganglia, and the cerebellum. Maurice Smith (2001) PhD Thesis, Johns Hopkins University.

A Gain-Field Encoding of Limb Position and Velocity in the Internal Model of Arm Dynamics. EJ Hwang, O Donchin, MA Smith, and R Shadmehr (2003) PLoS Biology 1(2):209-220. News&Views

Intact ability to learn internal models of arm dynamics in Huntington's disease but not cerebellar degeneration. MA Smith and R Shadmehr (2005) Journal of Neurophysiology 93:2809-2821

Adaptation and generalization in acceleration dependent force fields. EJ Hwang, MA Smith, and R Shadmehr (2006)   Experimental Brain Research 169:496-506.

Dissociable effects of the implicit and explicit memory systems on learning control of reaching.  EJ Hwang, MA Smith, and R Shadmehr (2006) Experimental Brain Research, 173:425-437

Interacting adaptive processes with different timescales underlie short-term motor learning.  MA Smith, A Ghazizadeh, and R Shadmehr (2006) PLoS Biology 4:e179  News&Views

Effects of cerebellar thalamus disruption on adaptive control of reaching. H Chen, SE Hua, MA Smith, FA Lenz, and R Shadmehr (2006) Cerebral Cortex 16:1462-1473