Mary Lou Smith is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga, and a Senior Associate Scientist in the Neurosciences and Mental Health Program at SickKids Research Institute.
She undertook her training in Neuropsychology at McGill University, working with the renowned cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Brenda Milner. She has been conducting research and clinical work with both adults and children with epilepsy for over 35 years. She has also investigated neurodevelopmental outcomes of children with HIV infection and children who are exposed pre- and perinatally to antiretroviral medications, and is one of the few Canadian psychologists conducting research on paediatric HIV.
Dr. Smith has led seminal studies of the roles of the frontal and temporal lobes in memory, and her current research examines the cognitive and behavioural co-morbidities associated with paediatric onset epilepsy. Her work has addressed these topics from a number of perspectives, including the clinical nature of intractable epilepsy, and theoretical issues for understanding early brain dysfunction. Her research program addresses the long term cognitive and psychosocial outcomes of epilepsy surgery in childhood, and the key psychosocial, family, cognitive and neurological variables that determine quality of life in children with epilepsy. The work also contains important implications for clinical treatment decisions and expectations for the impact of treatments. She has investigated the effects of perinatally or transfusion acquired HIV on cognition in children, and her current research investigates the impact of pre- or perinatal exposure to antiretroviral medications on cognitive and behavioural development.
Dr. Smith is active in advocacy, education and professional service within the field of epilepsy. She has participated in committees and task forces for the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), the American Epilepsy Society, and the Canadian League Against Epilepsy (CLAE). At present she is a member of the ILAE Neuropsychology (Diagnostic Strategies Commission), and Paediatric Psychiatry (Commission on Paediatrics) Task Forces and is a member of the ILAE committee for the North American region. She is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the CLAE, and the co-chair of the executive committee of the Canadian Paediatric Epilepsy Network.
Education and experience
- 1972–76: B.Sc., Honours Psychology, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS
- 1978–80: M.Sc., Neuropsychology, McGill University, Montreal QC
- 1980–85: PhD, Neuropsychology, McGill University, Montreal, QC
- 1985–86: Psychologist, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto ON
- 1986–present: Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Dr. Smith is active in advocacy, education and professional service within the field of epilepsy. She has been elected to leadership position or appointed to committees and task forces for the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), the American Epilepsy Society, and the Canadian League Against Epilepsy (CLAE). At present, she is a member of the ILAE Neuropsychology (Diagnostic Strategies Commission), and Paediatric Psychiatry (Commission on Paediatrics) Task Forces, and is secretary of the ILAE committee for the North American region.
She is past Secretary of the Board of Directors of the CLAE, and the co-chair of the executive committee of the Canadian Paediatric Epilepsy Network. She has been awarded the 2020 Fritz E. Dreifuss Award by the American Epilepsy Society for excellence in clinical research.
- Smith ML. Rethinking cognition and behavior in the new classification for childhood epilepsy: Examples from frontal lobe and temporal lobe epilepsies. Epilepsy & Behavior, 2016, 64, 313-317.
- Smith ML, Puka K, Sehra R, Read SE, Bitnun A. Longitudinal development of cognitive, visuomotor and adaptive behavior skills in HIV uninfected children, aged 3 to 5 years of age, exposed pre- and perinatally to anti-retroviral medications. AIDS Care, 2017, 29(10), 1302-1308.
- Hamberger M, Zeidel W, MacAllister W, Busch R, Smith ML. Noninvasive identification of seizure lateralization in children: Name that thing. Neurology, 2019;92(1):e1-e8.
- Danguecan A, Smith ML. Verbal associative memory outcomes in pediatric surgical temporal lobe epilepsy: Exploring the impact of mesial structures. Epilepsy and Behavior. 2019;101(Pt A):106529.
- Baxendale S, Wilson SJ, Baker GA, Barr W, Helmstaedter C, Hermann B, Langfitt JT, Reuner G, Rzezak P, Samson S, Smith ML. Ten things every neurologist needs to know about neuropsychological assessments and interventions in people with epilepsy. European Journal of Neurology. 2020;27(2):215-220.
2018–2023: Co-PI – CIHR (L. Serghides, A Bitnun, J Brophy, J Sled, et al): Team Grant: Healthy Living for HIV-exposed Uninfected Children - cognitive, behavioural, neuroimaging and animal studies to assess the impact of in utero exposure to HIV and antiretrovirals. $2,500,000. Grant #: HAL-157984
2014–2020: Co-PI– CIHR (E. Widjaja: co-PI, M. Ferro, K. Speechley, M. Connolly, C. Snead)). Impact of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery on Health-Related Quality of Life. $697,800. Grant#: MOP-133708