Cody J. Smith

Cody Smith

Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Phone: 574-631-3959

Office: 015 Galvin Life Sciences Center



Lab Website

There is a gap in our understanding of how the precise organization of cells in the nervous system (e.g. neural cells) impacts human behavior and disease. The Smith lab’s goal is to address this by understanding how stem cells and other cell populations build and rebuild the nervous system. Using advanced imaging approaches with molecular and cellular biology techniques we have the opportunity to reveal new biological processes that occur during development and regeneration of the nervous system, investigate the blueprint and construction of those processes and then discover the overall behavioral impact of disrupting such biology, helping us gain insight into how diseases manifest themselves in the clinic.

To do this the Smith lab is interested in understanding how distinct glial and neuronal cell-types from both the CNS and PNS work in concert to build and organize the nervous system. During development and regeneration, these discrete neural cells often originate from different progenitors, migrate long distances, interact, integrate and differentiate, all in a choreographed manner. By examining these cells in developmental and regeneration contexts, the Smith lab’s goal is to gain insight into not only how functional circuits are created, maintained and change during development but also into how both glia and neurons impact regeneration following injury, neurodevelopmental disorders such as Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder (CMT), and neurodegenerative diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Our approach is to use time-lapse imaging of live zebrafish in combination with a wealth of molecular and genetic tools. The advantage of this system is the ability to image neural cells migrate, proliferate and interact in a live animal over an extended period of time, providing us an avenue to ask “how does the nervous system develop?” and then watch as that hypothesis unfolds in a video.

Would you like to support Prof. Smith’s Research?


  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow of Neuroscience 2017
  • Indiana Department of Health 2017

Recent Papers:

  • Cody J. Smith, Michael A. Wheeler, Lindsay Marjoram, Michel Bagnat, Christopher D. Deppmann and Sarah Kucenas. TNFa/TNFR2 Signaling is Required for Glial Ensheathment at the Dorsal Root Entry Zone. PLoS Genetics. 2017
  • Smith, Cody J., Kimberly Johnson, Taylor G. Welsh, Michael Barresi, and Sarah Kucenas. Radial glia inhibit peripheral glial infiltration into the spinal cord at the spinal motor exit point. Glia. 2016
  • Kimberly Johnson, Jessica Barragan, Sarah Bashiruddin, Cody J. Smith, Chelsea Tyrrell, Michael J. Parsons, Rosemarie Doris, Sarah Kucenas, Gerald B. Downes, Carla Velez, Catalina Sakai, Narendra Pathak, Katrina Anderson, Rachael Stein, Stephen H. Devoto, Jeff S. Mumm and Michael J.F. Barresi. Gfap-positive radial glial cells are an essential progenitor population for later born neurons and glia in the zebrafish spinal cord. Glia. 2016
  • Wheeler, Michael A., Cody J Smith, Matteo Ottolini, Bryan S Barker, Aarti M Purohit, Ryan M Grippo, Ronald P Gaykema, Anthony J Spano, Mark P Beenhakker, Sarah Kucenas, Manoj K Patel, Christopher D Deppmann & Ali D Güler. Genetically Magnetic Control of the Nervous System. Nature Neuroscience. 2016
  • Smith, Cody J., Angela Morris, Taylor Garrett, and Sarah Kucenas. Contact-Mediated Inhibition Between Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells and Motor Exit Point Glia Establish the Spinal Cord Transition Zone. PLoS Biology. 2014. PMID: 25268888.