In memory of Mark A. Smith
Mark A. Smith Prize
In Memory of Mark A. Smith
Since 2011, the Editors’ Award is known as the Mark A. Smith prize to pay tribute to Mark’s long service to the Journal as a Handling Editor and recently Deputy Chief Editor, Reviews. Tragically, Mark was killed in a vehicle accident on December 19, 2010.
More information on the Mark A. Smith Award, click here
See the winners
The 2022 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to João Victor Cabral-Costa for the paper entitled “Mitochondrial sodium/calcium exchanger NCLX regulates glycolysis in astrocytes, impacting on cognitive performance”. This paper presents a novel optogenetic tool that is likely to open new avenues to study the role of presynaptic potentiation in neuronal networks and their impact on behaviors, and is considered of wide interest because it provides specificity not afforded by pharmacological or electrical approaches to elicit synaptic potentiation with a high temporal and spatial precision.
The elegant and convincing study shows the involvement of mitochondrial calcium efflux by the sodium/calcium exchanger NCLX in astrocytic glucose metabolism and thus presenting a novel mechanism associating mitochondrial function with cognition. The authors prove their conclusions with a range of both pharmacological and genetic techniques, utilizing scRNA-seq data to guide the functional examination of NCLX in vivo. The targeting of NCLX deletion to either astrocytes or neurons represents an important advance, which produced intriguing differential effects on behavioral performance.
The 2021 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Dr. Md. Omar Faruk on the 2021 Mark A. Smith Award for the publication “Muscarinic signaling regulates voltage‐gated potassium channel KCNQ2 phosphorylation in the nucleus accumbens via protein kinase C for aversive learning”. The authors used advanced biochemical approaches such as targeted deletion of Kcnq2 in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of emotional behavior, including avoidance learning, mediated by the NAcc via muscarinic receptor (MR1) signaling, which was known to increase with foot shock and affect the functions of KCNQ2 potassium channels.
Dr. Faruk pursued a Bachelor and Master of Science at University of Dhaka in his home country, Bangladesh, where his work was already honored with a Dean’s Award for outstanding results in BS (Bachelor of Science) and a scholarship for excellent academic performance during the Master’s thesis. Dr. Faruk earned his PhD from Nagoya University, Graduate School of Medicine, Japan in Kozo Kaibuchi’s lab with a Monbukagakusho (MEXT) award from the Japanese Government. He now holds an assistance professorship at University of Dhaka.
The 2020 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Silvia Oldani who was first author of the paper entitled “SynaptoPAC, an optogenetic tool for induction of presynaptic plasticity”. This paper presents a novel optogenetic tool that is likely to open new avenues to study the role of presynaptic potentiation in neuronal networks and their impact on behaviors, and is considered of wide interest because it provides specificity not afforded by pharmacological or electrical approaches to elicit synaptic potentiation with a high temporal and spatial precision.
Silvia Oldani pursued her Master’s studies at the Università degli Studi di Milano in Milan from 2012 – 2014 where she graduated in Cell Molecular Biology with a thesis on neuronal network development at the University of Amsterdam in Netherlands under the supervision of Ruud Toonen in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Matthijs Verhage. Silvia Oldani received a NeuroCure Excellence Cluster PhD fellowship from the Charité Berlin, where she pursued her PhD from 2015 under the supervision of Benjamin Rost and Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmitz.
The 2019 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Wangqiu Huang, for the paper Metabolomics‐driven identification of adenosine deaminase as therapeutic target in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease.
The paper uses a combination of interesting approaches to identify novel targets to diminish neurodegeneration in a
Parkinson disease (PD) mouse model, and is testing drugs that modulate the pathway to show they can approve neurochemical and behavioral outcomes in a mouse model of PD.
With the aim to identify novel inflammation-relevant targets associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD), the authors begin this study by performing a non-bias metabolomics approach in striatal tissue of mice exposed to LPS and MPTP (i.e. a “double-hit” approach). Their mass-spectrometry results, combined with metabolite-protein bioinformatics approaches, identified numerous metabolites of the purine metabolic pathway to be involved – in particular, decreases in adenosine levels. The authors proceeded to test their hypothesis by performing neurochemical, immunohistological and behavioral analysis in an acute MPTP-induced PD model using three treatments: ADA inhibition, adenosine receptor (AR) A2a inhibition, or a combination thereof. They found that while ADA inhibition alone improved dopamine depletion and was partially neuroprotective, combination treatments of ADA and AR A2a inhibitors were more efficacious in ameliorating MPTP effects on PD phenotypes.
The 2018 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Jonathan D. Lautz, “Synaptic activity induces input-specific rearrangements in a targeted synaptic protein interaction network”
Journal of Neurochemistry (2018) J Neurochem 146(5), 540-559.
Jonathan D. Lautz, Emily A. Brown, Alison A. Williams VanSchoiack, Stephen E. P. Smith
The study impressed by its comprehensive and thorough design and conduct and was judged as very innovative and future-leading. Lautz et al. utilized the quantitative multiplex co-immunoprecipitation platform they designed to analyze activity-dependent changes in PSD protein-protein interactions and showed that neurons respond differently to different types of glutamatergic inputs by modulating specific combinations of post-synaptic proteins associations.
Jonathan D. Lautz currently works as a postdoctoral fellow at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Center for Integrative Brain Research under supervision of Dr. Stephen Smith
The 2017 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Scott Glen Canfield, for An isogenic blood-brain barrier model comprising brain endothelial cells, astrocytes, and neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells
Journal of Neurochemistry (2017) J Neurochem 140(6):874-888.
Scott G. Canfield, Matthew J. Stebbins, Bethsymarie Soto Morales, Shusaku W. Asai, Gad D. Vatine, Clive N. Svendsen, Sean P. Palecek, Eric V. Shusta.
Read the Editorial Highlight for this article: https://doi.org/10.1111/jnc.13961
The article makes a very important contribution to the understanding of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Canfield et al. used human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to derive endothelial cells, astrocytes, and neurons. Co-culture of those cells resulted in a human BBB model with excellent permeability characteristics, with transendothelial electrical resistances and passive permeabilities close to those found in vivo. This type of work is important because the integrity of the BBB is affected in several neurodegenerative disorders. Due to the intricate nature of the BBB it constitutes a major hurdle to deliver drugs or other potential therapeutic agents into the brain. The authors also showed that such models could be derived from a single patient, which is of special interest because it opens the possibility to monitor in the future the effects of individual mutations or polymorphisms on BBB function.
Scott Glen Canfield is currently an Assistant Professor in Cellular and Integrative Physiology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Terre Haute, Indiana. He has also co-authored a number of relevant articles in the field in the past.
The 2016 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to our 2016 Mark Smith Award winner, Sunmin Jung (Seoul National University), for Dual-specificity phosphatase 26 (DUSP26) stimulates Aβ42 generation by promoting amyloid precursor protein axonal transport during hypoxia
Journal of Neurochemistry (2016) J Neurochem 137(5), 770-781.
Sunmin Jung, Jihoon Nah, Jonghee Han, Seon-Guk Choi, Hyunjoo Kim, Jaesang Park, Ha-Kyung Pyo, Yong-Keun Jung. DOI: 10.1111/jnc.13597
The article makes a very interesting contribution to the study of Aβ production in Alzheimer’s brain. Hypoxia is a known risk factor for AD and stimulates Aβ generation by γ-secretase; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Under hypoxic conditions, dual-specificity phosphatase 26 (DUSP26) regulates Aβ generation through changes in subcellular localisation of the γ-secretase complex and its substrate C99. DUSP26 was identified as a novel γ-secretase regulator from a genome-wide functional screen using a cDNA expression library. Additionally, DUSP26 induced c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation for APP processing and axonal transport of C99. The results suggest that DUSP26 mediates hypoxia-induced Aβ generation through JNK activation, revealing a new regulator of γ-secretase-mediated APP processing under hypoxic conditions.
Sunmin Jung is working at Seoul National University, Department of Biological Science.
The 2015 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Yuda Huo, for The deubiquitinating enzyme USP46 regulates AMPA receptor ubiquitination and trafficking
Journal of Neurochemistry (2015) J Neurochem 134(6), 1067–1080.
Yuda Huo, Natasha Khatri, Qingming Hou, James Gilbert, Guan Wang and Heng-Ye Man. DOI: 10.1111/jnc.13194
The article has broad relevance in the field of protein ubiquitination, a highly dynamic and reversible process, achieved via the balance between ubiquitination and deubiquitination. The glutamatergic AMPARs, which mediate most of the excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain, are known to be subjected to Nedd4-mediated ubiquitination; however, the deubiquitination process and the responsible deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) for mammalian AMPARs remain elusive. We find that AMPARs are subject to K63-type ubiquitination, and identify USP46 as the DUB for AMPARs. USP46 deubiquitinates AMPARs in vitro and in vivo. Up- or down-regulation of USP46 leads to changes in AMPAR ubiquitination, surface expression, and trafficking, as well as the strength of synaptic transmission. USP46-mediated regulation of AMPAR ubiquitination and turnover may play an important role in synaptic plasticity and brain function.
Yuda Huo has co-authored a number of relevant articles in the field in the past, using a variety of biochemical, molecular and cell biological as well as imaging methods. He is currently working at Boston University, USA under the guidance of Dr. Heng-ye Man to pursue his PhD degree in Neuroscience.
The 2014 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Stefania Averaimo, PhD, for CLIC1 functional expression, is required for cAMP-induced neurite elongation in post-natal mouse retinal ganglion cells(2014) J Neurochem 131(4), 444-456. Stefania Averaimo, Marta Gritti, Erica Barini, Laura Gasparini and Michele Mazzanti. DOI: 10.1111/jnc.12832
Dr. Averaimo is currently working at the University of Milan, Italy, in the department of Prof. Michele Mazzanti.
The 2013 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Takao Hikita, PhD, for Rac1-mediated indentation of resting neurons, promotes the chain migration of new neurons in the rostral migratory stream of post-natal mouse brain J Neurochem 128(6), 790-797. Takao Hikita, Akihisa Ohno, Masato Sawada, Haruko Ota and Kazunobu Sawamoto. DOI: 10.1111/jnc.12518
Dr. Hikita earned his PhD in the Department of Cell Pharmacology at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan. He currently holds a PostDoc position at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, Germany. The winning paper sheds light on cell migration mechanisms using cutting-edge techniques such as live cell imaging and thus has broad appeal and impact in the neurochemistry and neuroscience fields.
The 2012 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Sonya B. Dumanis, PhD, for “APOE genotype affects the pre-synaptic compartment of glutamatergic nerve terminals” J. Neurochem 124(1), 4-14.
Sonya B. Dumanis, Amanda M. DiBattista, Matthew Miessau, Charbel E. H. Moussa and G. William Rebeck.
The article was highlighted in “Apolipoprotein E Acts at Presynaptic Sites…Among Others” in the same issue.
The 2011 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Joanne L. Bailey, PhD, for “In vitro CNS tissue analogues formed by self-organisation of reaggregated post-natal brain tissue“, J. Neurochem. 117, 1020-1032.
Joanne L. Bailey, Vincent O’Connor, Matthew Hannah, Lindsay Hewlett, Thelma E. Biggs, Lars E. Sundstrom, Matt W. Findlay, and John E. Chad (2011).
This annual award recognizes the contribution of an outstanding young scientist to an exceptional research paper published in JNC. To be eligible, first or last authors must be 35 years or younger on the date of submission of the article and no more than eight years beyond PhD. The Chief Editors selected this original article from >150 eligible papers that appeared ‘early view’ in 2011.
Dr. Bailey earned a first-class honours degree from the University of Southampton in 2006 and completed her PhD in 2010. Currently, Joanne is a research fellow in Dr. Tracey Newman’s laboratory in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton.
The 2010 Mark A. Smith Prize Winner
Congratulations to Jennie Cederholm for Conformational changes in extracellular loop two associated with signal transduction in the glycine receptor, J. Neurochem. 115, 1245-1255. Jennie M. E. Cederholm, Nathan L. Absalom, Silas Sugiharto, Renate Griffith, Peter R. Schofield and Trevor M. Lewis (2010).