Mary Alice Smith

Environmental Health Science
Professor Emerita

Environmental Health Science

Dr. Smith’s research focused on the effects of microbial and chemical agents on pregnancy and development. Her research incorporates use of animal models and in vitro models for pregnancy and development, determination of dose response for adverse effects, and the use of embryonic stem cells and metabolomics to predict adverse effects. These data were used to develop risk assessments for microbial pathogens to determine the level of exposure that would likely result in adverse pregnancy outcomes or adverse health effects to children.

  • Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program, 1990, Major: Toxicology
  • M.S., Emory University, 1980, Major: Developmental Biology
  • M.A.T., Emory University, 1976, Major: Secondary School Science, Certified Supervising Teacher
  • B.S., Auburn University, 1971, Major: Biology Education, Secondary School Certificate
More About

Affiliated Faculty of:
• Interdisciplinary Toxicology
• Center for Food Safety
• Regenerative Bioscience Center
• University of Georgia Teaching Academy

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Smith’s areas of expertise are in developmental and reproductive toxicology, microbial risk assessment, and chemical risk assessment.

Honors, Awards, and Achievements
  • Past Chair (2018-2019), Chair (2017-2018), Vice Chair (2016-2017), the Scientific Liaison Coalition a partnership of professional organizations with the goal of improving public health
  • Past President (2015-2016), President (2014-2015), Vice President (2013-2014), Vice President-Elect (elected 2012-2013), the Teratology Society, renamed in 2019 as the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. Program
  • Chair for annual meeting held in Bellevue, WA in June 2014.
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, (2013).
  • UGA Graduate School Faculty Diversity Award, (2012)
  • University of Georgia Senior Teaching Fellow, (2012-2013)
  • University of Georgia Teaching Academy (2012-present).
  • Secretary (elected), the Teratology Society (renamed Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, (2009-2012).
  • Sloan Faculty of the Year Award presented by the COMPACT for Faculty Diversity (2005).
  • Member of the Sloan Foundation PhD Network for Underrepresented Minorities. (2003-2009).
  • Received Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award for partial support during the study leave to University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. (2001-2002).
  • UGA Outstanding Academic Advisor/Mentor Award (2000-2001).
  • Scientific Liaison Coalition, 2015-present
  • Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (formerly the Teratology Society), 1991-present
  • Society of Toxicology, 1996-present
  • Reproductive Toxicology, Editorial Board, 2007-2020
  • Frontiers in Predictive Toxicity, Editorial Board, July 2012 – present.
Research Interests

Dr. Smith’s research interests are on predicting the effects of microbial and chemical agents on pregnancy and development.

Selected Publications

*indicates UGA students and †indicates senior author
1. *Wadhwa Desai, R and MA Smith†. Pregnancy-related listeriosis. Invited manuscript for special edition Emerging Infections During Pregnancy, Birth Defects Research 109:324–335, 2017.
2. Amosu, M, N Nation* and MA Smith†. Invited chapter, “Aliphatic Hydrocarbons” in Hamilton and Hardy’s Industrial Toxicology (R Harbison, MM Bourgeois, and GT Johnson, eds), 6th edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ, 2015.
3. *Roulo, RM, JD Fishburn, M Amosu, A Etchison* and MA Smith†. Dose-response of Listeria monocytogenes invasion, fetal morbidity, and fetal mortality after oral challenge in pregnant and non- pregnant Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Infect Immun 82 (11):4834-4841. 2014.
4. *Roulo, R, JD Fishburn, L Alworth, A Hoberman and MA Smith†. Obtaining Timed-Pregnant Mongolian Gerbils for Use in Developmental Studies. Lab Animal 42 (10): 380-383 2013.
5. West, FD, WM Henderson, P Yu, J-Y Yang, S Stice and MA Smith†. Metabolomic response of human embryonic stem cell derived germ-like cells after exposure to steroid hormones. Toxicological Sciences 129 (1):9-20. 2012. Finalist for Best Paper in Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology in Toxicological Sciences for 2012.
6. *Richardson, AN, EA Pollak*, D Williams*, AK Agyekum* and MA Smith†. Susceptibility to Cronobacter sakazakii Decreases with Increasing Age in Neonatal CD-1 Mice. Journal of Food Protection 75(5):884-888. 2012.
7. *Williams, D, S Dunn, A Richardson*, JF Frank and MA Smith†. Time course of fetal tissue invasion by Listeria monocytogenes following an oral inoculation in pregnant guinea pigs. Journal of Food Protection 74(2):248-253. 2011.
8. *Richardson, AN, LR Beuchat, S Lambert, D Williams* and MA Smith†. Comparison of virulence of three strains of Cronobacter sakazakii in neonatal CD-1 mice. Journal of Food Protection 73(5):849-854. 2010.
9. *Williams, D, J Castleman, C-C Lee, B Mote, and MA Smith†. Risk of fetal mortality after exposure to Listeria monocytogenes based on dose-response data from pregnant guinea pigs and primates. Risk Analysis 29(11):1495-1505. 2009.
10. *Richardson, A, S Lambert and MA Smith†. Neonatal mice as models for Cronobacter sakazakii infection in infants. Journal of Food Protection 72(11):2363-2367. 2009.
11. Buchanan, RL, AH Havelaar, MA Smith, RC Whiting and E Julien†. The Key Events Dose-Response Framework: Its potential for application to foodborne pathogenic microorganisms. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 49:718-728. 2009. (1st 4 authors equally contributed)
12. Julien, E, AR Boobis, SS Olin, and The ILSI Research Foundation Threshold Working Group. The key events dose-response framework: A cross-disciplinary mod-of-action based approach to examining dose-response and thresholds. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 49:682-689. 2009.