Susan Smalley, 2009.
February 18, 1955 |
She is Professor of Psychiatry and Founder and Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Medical Genetics and Childhood Psychopathology at UCLA, as well, and is a founding member of the College of Medical Genetics.
As a behavior geneticist, Dr. Smalley spent 20 years researching the genetic influences of human behavior, conducting gene-mapping studies in autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Supported through NIMH grants, her lab conducted the first genome-wide scan in ADHD localizing likely risk genes in this condition to chromosome regions on 16p13 and 5p13 among others. Further research lent support for an overlap of autism and ADHD by genome-scan data and Smalley suggested that the overlap of these conditions might be related to atypical cerebral asymmetry observed in both conditions. Smalley’s research on ADHD includes investigation of personality factors that are associated with ADHD, including novelty-seeking and self-transcendence, aspects of personality that may be associated with creativity. She has been an advocate of viewing ADHD as an extreme on a continuum of functioning that might be best viewed as part of neurodiversity in general, albeit often associated with impairment.
Dr. Smalley founded the Mindful Awareness Research Center. The center's mission is to increase mindful awareness through research and teaching to promote a more compassionate society. They offer classes and workshops within the university and to the general public on mindfulness, including free drop-in classes at the UCLA Hammer museum. Through the MARC center, Smalley conducted research on whether mindfulness meditation might help adults and teens with ADHD in an early pilot study looking at mindfulness as a complementary practice in helping with symptoms and attention in this condition. The study suggested that mindfulness practice is likely beneficial in ADHD, both improving mood, reducing anxiety, and helping with attentional focus. In addition to ADHD research and mindfulness, Smalley conducted a study looking at the application of mindfulness in children and its effect on executive functioning. The study supported a role for mindfulness practices in young children (2nd/3rd graders) and that it can prove beneficial for increasing executive functioning (EF), especially in children having challenges with EF.
She is an international speaker on the Science of Mindfulness and co-author of the book, Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness with co-author Diana Winston (Da Capo Publishiing). Smalley has contributed articles to the Los Angeles Times magazine, and as a regular online contributor to the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.
She received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology at UCLA. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Medical Genetics and Childhood Psychopathology and was board certified in Medical Genetics.
- Fisher, Simon E.; Francks, Clyde; McCracken, James T.; McGough, James J.; Marlow, Angela J.; MacPhie, I. Laurence; Newbury, Dianne F.; Crawford, Lori R. et al. (2002). "A Genomewide Scan for Loci Involved in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder". The American Journal of Human Genetics 70 (5): 1183–96. doi:10.1086/340112. PMC 447594. PMID 11923911.
- Smalley, S; Kustanovich, V; Minassian, S; Stone, J; Ogdie, M; McGough, J; McCracken, J; MacPhie, I et al. (2002). "Genetic Linkage of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder on Chromosome 16p13, in a Region Implicated in Autism". The American Journal of Human Genetics 71 (4): 959–63. doi:10.1086/342732. PMC 378550. PMID 12187510.
- Ogdie, M; Fisher, S; Yang, M; Ishii, J; Francks, C; Loo, S; Cantor, R; McCracken, J et al. (2004). "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Fine Mapping Supports Linkage to 5p13, 6q12, 16p13, and 17p11". The American Journal of Human Genetics 75 (4): 661–8. doi:10.1086/424387. PMID 15297934.
- Smalley, Susan L.; Loo, Sandra K.; Yang, May H.; Cantor, Rita M. (2005). "Toward localizing genes underlying cerebral asymmetry and mental health". American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics 135B (1): 79–84. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30141. PMID 15806584.
- Lynn, Deborah E.; Lubke, Gitta; Yang, May; McCracken, James T.; McGough, James J.; Ishii, Janeen; Loo, Sandra K.; Nelson, Stanley F. et al. (2005). "Temperament and Character Profiles and the Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene in ADHD". American Journal of Psychiatry 162 (5): 906–13. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.5.906. PMID 15863792.
- Smalley, Susan (June 1, 2008). "Reframing ADHD in the Genomic Era". Psychiatric Times 25 (7).
- Zylowska, L.; Ackerman, D. L.; Yang, M. H.; Futrell, J. L.; Horton, N. L.; Hale, T. S.; Pataki, C.; Smalley, S. L. (2007). "Mindfulness Meditation Training in Adults and Adolescents With ADHD: A Feasibility Study". Journal of Attention Disorders 11 (6): 737–46. doi:10.1177/1087054707308502. PMID 18025249.
- Smalley, Susan L.; Loo, Sandra K.; Hale, T. Sigi; Shrestha, Anshu; McGough, James; Flook, Lisa; Reise, Steven (2009). "Mindfulness and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder". Journal of Clinical Psychology 65 (10): 1087–98. doi:10.1002/jclp.20618. PMC 2827240. PMID 19681107.
- Flook, Lisa; Smalley, Susan; Kitil, M. Jennifer; Galla, Brian; Kaiser-Greenland, Susan; Locke, Jill; Ishijima, Eric; Kasari, Connie (2010). "Effects of Mindful Awareness Practices on Executive Functions in Elementary School Children". Journal of Applied School Psychology 26: 70–95. doi:10.1080/15377900903379125.