Professional Bio

Education
  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, Northwestern University, 2016
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of Washington, 2008
  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, University of Washington, 2005

Teaching Philosophy: My primary philosophy as a teacher of physical therapy students is to facilitate learning by connecting course material back to clinical relevance. In doing so, my approach bolsters student’s long-term retention, clinical reasoning and empathy for patients. 

Download Curriculum Vitae

Certifications and Expertise

Clinical Certifications
  • Professional License: Physical Therapist, State of Colorado, DORA, Division of Professions and Occupations, License #: PTL.0014215

Professional Memberships

  • American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
  • Society for Neuroscience

Research and Scholarship

Research Interests
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Whiplash injury
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Electrophysiological testing
  • Muscle imaging

Recent Publications 

McPherson JG, Smith AC, Duben DA, McMahon KL, Wasielewski M, Parrish TB, Elliott JM. Short- and long-term reproducibility of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of lower extremity musculature in asymptomatic individuals and a comparison to individuals with spinal cord injury. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. DOI: 0.1186/s12891-018-2361-7. [Epub ahead of print]

O’Dell DR, Weber KA, Berliner JC, Connor JR, Cummins DP, Heller KA, Hubert JS, Kates MJ, Mendoza KR, Elliott JM, Smith AC. Midsagittal tissue bridges are associated with walking ability in incomplete spinal cord injury: a magnetic resonance imaging case series. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. DOI: 10.1080/10790268.2018.152707 [Epub ahead of print]

Cloney MB, Smith AC, Coffey T, Paliwal M, Dhaher Y, Parrish TB, Elliott JM, Smith ZA. Fatty infiltration of the cervical multifidus musculature and their clinical correlates in spondylotic myelopathy.  Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 2018.

Smith AC, Weber KA, O’Dell DR, Parrish TB, Wasielewski M, Elliott JM. Lateral corticospinal tract damage correlates with motor output in incomplete spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2018;99(4):660-666. 

Smith AC, Weber KA, Parrish TB, Hornby TG, Tysseling VM, McPherson JG, Wasielewski M, Elliott JM. Ambulatory function in motor incomplete spinal cord injury: A magnetic resonance imaging study of spinal cord edema and lower extremity muscle morphometry. Spinal Cord. 2017;55:672-678. 

Jakubowski K, Smith AC, Elliott JM, Lee SSM. The relationship between volitional activation and muscle properties in incomplete spinal cord injury. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1310/sci17-00007.

Elliott JM, Hancock MJ, Crawford RJ, Smith AC, Walton DM. Advancing imaging technologies for patients with spinal pain: with a focus on whiplash injury. The Spine Journal. 2017. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2017.06.015. 

Smith AC, Jakubowski K, Wasielewski M, Lee SSM, Elliott JM. Lower extremity muscle structure in incomplete spinal cord injury: a comparison between ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging. Spinal Cord Series and Cases. 2017; doi:10.1038/scsandc.2017.4.

Smith AC, Knikou M. A review on locomotor training after spinal cord injury: reorganization of spinal neuronal circuits and recovery of motor function. Neural Plasticity. 2016:1216258. 

Smith AC, Knikou M, Yelick KL, Alexander AR, Murnane MM, Kritselis AA, Houmpavlis PJ, McPherson JG, Wasielewski M, Hoggarth MA, Elliott JM. MRI measures of fat infiltration in the lower extremities following motor incomplete spinal cord injury: reliability and potential implications for muscle activation. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2016: 5451-5456.

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Hoggarth MA, McPherson JG, Tysseling VM, Wasielewski M, Kim HE, Hornby TG, Elliott JM. Potential associations between chronic whiplash and incomplete spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord: Series and Cases. 2015;1:15024. doi:10.1038/scsandc.2015.24.

Sions JM, Smith AC, Hicks GE, Elliott JM. Trunk muscle size and composition assessment in older adults with chronic low back pain: An Intra-examiner and Inter-examiner Reliability Study. Pain Medicine. 2015;17(8):1436-1446.

Knikou M, Smith AC, Mummidisetty CK.  Locomotor training improves reciprocal and non-reciprocal inhibitory control of soleus motoneurons in human spinal cord injury.  Journal of Neurophysiology. 2015;113:2447-2460.

Smith AC, Rymer WZ, Knikou M.  Locomotor training modifies soleus monosynaptic motoneuron responses in human spinal cord injury.  Experimental Brain Research. 2015; 233:89-103.

Smith AC, Mummidisetty CK, Rymer WZ, Knikou M.  Locomotor training alters the behavior of flexor reflexes during walking in human spinal cord injury.  Journal of Neurophysiology. 2014;112:2164-2175.

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Abbott R, Hoggarth MA, Mendoza K, Chen YF, Elliott JM. Muscle-fat magnetic resonance imaging: 1.5 Tesla and 3.0 Tesla versus histology. Muscle and Nerve. 2014;50:170-176.

Abbott R, Hoggarth MA, Smith AC, Elliott JM. Letter to the Editor regarding: Smuck M, Cristostomo RA, Demirjian R, et al. Morphologic change in the lumbar spine after lumbar medial branch radiofrequency neurotomy: a quantitative radiological study. The Spine Journal. 2014;14:1088-1089.

Smith AC, Mummidisetty CK, Rymer WZ, Knikou M. Effects of mechanical vibration of the foot sole and ankle tendons on cutaneomuscular responses in man.  Neuroscience Letters. 2013: 545:123-126.

Mummidisetty CK, Smith AC, Knikou M. Modulation of reciprocal and presynaptic Inhibition during robotic assisted stepping in humans. Clinical Neurophysiology. 2013; 124:557-564. 

Hajela N, Mummidisetty CK, Smith AC, Knikou M.  Corticospinal reorganization after locomotor training in a person with motor incomplete paraplegia. BioMed Research International. 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/516427.


Recent Presentations 

Abstract and Poster

Passarelli C, Noteboom T, Thomas S, Backward C, Smith AC. Impact of a student profile blog on prospective applicants’ decisions on DPT program.  APTA Combined Sections Meeting, New Orleans, LA, USA 2018.

Smith AC, McPherson JG, Parrish TB, Wasielewski M, Elliott JM. Spinal cord injury edema volume: a potential marker for correlating with walking ability.  Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics. Miami, FL USA 2016. 

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Hoggarth MA, Wasielewski M, Kim HE, Hornby TG, Elliott JM.  The spinal cord lesion: relationship to muscle changes and motor deficits.  Society for Neuroscience Conference, Chicago, IL USA 2015.

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Wasielewski M, Kim HE, Hornby TG, Elliott JM.  Spinal cord & muscle imaging, motor control, and function following incomplete spinal cord injury.  APTA Combined Sections Meeting, Indianapolis, IN, USA 2015.

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Wasielewski M, Kim HE, Hornby TG, Elliott JM. Spinal cord motor tract integrity, muscle architectural alterations, and volitional motor control following motor incomplete spinal cord injury. Society for Neuroscience Conference, Washington DC, USA, 2014.

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Wasielewski M, Kim HE, Hornby TG, Elliott JM.  Muscle architectural alterations and volitional motor control in chronic whiplash and incomplete spinal cord injury.  Northwestern University Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences Training Day, Chicago IL, USA, 2014.

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Abbott R, Hoggarth MA, Mendoza K, Chen YF, Elliott JM. Measuring skeletal muscle and relative fat-to-water percentage: the comparison of MR Imaging versus histology. APTA Combined Sections Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 2014.

Smith AC, Rymer WZ, Mummidisetty CK, Knikou M. The effects of foot and ankle tendon vibration on the non-nociceptive tibialis anterior flexion reflex in man.  NUIN Recruitment Event.  Chicago IL, USA 2013.

Abstracts

Smith AC, Tappan R, O'Dell DR, Weber KA, Abbott R, Hoggarth MA, Elliott JM. APTA Combined Sections Meeting Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy Educational Session. New Orleans, LA USA 2018.  Title of session: “Imaging of spinal trauma: can protons inform prognosis and improve outcomes?” (2/22/18).

Smith AC, Weber KA, O’Dell DR, Wasielewski M, Connor JR, Cummins DP, Heller KA, Hubert JS, Kates MJ, Mendoza KR, Elliott JM. APTA Combined Sections Meeting Research Platform Presentation. New Orleans, LA USA 2018.  Title of talk: “Lateral corticospinal tract damage analysis in motor incomplete spinal cord injury – its relationship to specific motor deficits.” (2/24/18). 

O’Dell DR, Berliner JC, Elliott JM, Connor JR, Cummins DP, Heller KA, Hubert JS, Kates MJ, Mendoza KR, Smith AC. APTA CO 2017 Rocky Mountain Fall Symposium. Keystone, CO USA 2017.  Title of talk: “Sagittal T2 MRI measures of spinal cord damage in SCI: inter-rater reliability and implications for rehabilitation.” (10/6/17).  

Smith AC, O’Dell DR. Regis University Research and Scholarship Council Celebration of Scholarship and Research.  Denver, CO USA 2017. Title of talk: “Can MRI augment the prediction of who will walk again after spinal cord injury?” (4/11/17). 

Smith AC, Wasielewski M, Alexander A, Houmpavlis P, Kritselis A, Murnane M, Yelick K, Elliott JM. American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting Research Platform Presentation.  San Antonio, TX USA 2017. Title of talk: "Does spinal cord edema relate to ambulatory function in motor incomplete spinal cord injury?” (2/18/17).

Smith AC. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Spinal Cord Injury Symposium.  Chicago, IL USA 2016.  Title of talk: “Walking after SCI: mechanisms and prediction.” (6/3/16).

Smith AC, Parrish TB, Hoggarth MA, McPherson JG, Tysseling VM, Wasielewski M, Kim HE, Hornby TG, Elliott JM. American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting Orthopedic Platform Presentation.  Anaheim, CA USA 2016. Title of talk: "Minor” whiplash injuries...could they involve the spinal cord?” (2/18/16).

Smith AC. Northwestern University Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences Grand Rounds seminar.  Chicago, IL USA 2015. Title of talk: “Potential associations between chronic whiplash and incomplete spinal cord injury” (8/12/15).


Awards and Recognition

Grants

Ongoing Research Support     

Regis University Research and Scholarship Council Smith (PI) 04/2018-04/2019
MRI to improve early prognosis and clinical management after spinal cord injury.
This study aims to investigate the prognostic potential and clinical utility of advanced MR imaging for early prognosis and management of individuals following spinal cord injury.
Role: Principal Investigator

R01 HD079076 Elliott (PI) 06/2016-05/2019
Neuromuscular Mechanisms Underlying Poor Recovery from Whiplash
This study proposes to explore the use of advanced magnetic resonance imaging applications for early detection of whole-body muscle degeneration and altered spinal cord anatomy in whiplash.
Role: Co-Investigator

Completed Research Support      

NIH Loan Repayment Program Smith (PI) 08/2015-08/2017
Cord Integrity, Muscle Changes, and Motor Control Following Traumatic Spinal Injury
This study aims to elucidate the relationships of and prognostic value for the 1) magnitude of damage to descending white matter pathways in the cervical spinal cord with MRI, 2) temporal expression of muscle fatty infiltration (MFI) in the extremities, and 3) maximal volitional motor control of the lower extremity. Specifically, the populations of healthy controls, chronic whiplash, and iSCI are being investigated. 
Role: Principal Investigator / Clinical Researcher

T32 HD057845 Dewald (PI) 06/2014-06/2016
Training Grant – Neurobiology of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences
The mission of this program is to train students with clinical and life/applied science backgrounds to become rehabilitation scientists in basic, translational or clinical research.  The training program focuses on the neurobiology of movement and rehabilitation sciences, with three main goals: 1) understanding the neurobiology of movement behavior and disorders, 2) identifying and addressing the need for quantitative methods, 3) applying this knowledge to the development of effective rehabilitation interventions.

C023690 (NYSDOH) & 83607 (Craig H. Neilsen Foundation); Knikou (PI); 06/2008-09/2012
Mechanisms Underlying Locomotor Recovery after Step training in SCI. The purpose of this project was to establish the mechanisms and the changes of specific spinal neuronal pathways underlying recovery of walking and sensorimotor function following intensive treadmill training in people with a spinal cord injury.  
Role: Research Physical Therapist

Recognition and Awards 

2015 – 2017, NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 
National Institutes of Health Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Research.

2015 Foundation for Physical Therapy Mary Lou Barnes Award 
Awarded due to the outstanding PODS II application in postprofessional studies within neurology.  

2015 Foundation for Physical Therapy Promotion of Doctoral Studies II Award Recipient 
Awarded to select physical therapist PhD candidates with the intent of developing independent researchers who will add to or refine the body of knowledge on which physical therapist practice is based.

2014 Foundation for Physical Therapy Promotion of Doctoral Studies I Award Recipient
Awarded to select physical therapist graduate students with the intent of developing doctorally prepared researchers who will add to or refine the body of knowledge on which physical therapist practice is based.

2014 – 2016, NIH/National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development T32 Training Grant
Awarded to select neuroscience graduate students for financial support, this training program focuses on the neurobiology of movement and rehabilitation sciences, with three main goals: 1) understanding the neurobiology of movement behavior and disorders, 2) identifying and addressing the need for quantitative methods in the field and 3) applying this knowledge to the development of effective rehabilitation interventions.

Community Involvement and Service

Service to Profession

  • Manuscript Reviewer – Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice (2016 – Present)
  • Review Editor in Spinal Cord Medicine, Frontiers in Neurology (2017 – Present)
  • Manuscript Reviewer – Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, Disability and Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Series and Cases, Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging (2016 – Present)

Service to University

  • Evidence Based Practice Task Force, Regis University School of Physical Therapy
  • DPT Admissions Task Force, Regis University School of Physical Therapy