Chris Smith



I was born and raised in Greenwood, SC. I graduated in 2008 with a BS in Neuroscience from Furman University. After graduation I moved to Chapel Hill for graduate school at UNC. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading, watching movies, and photography.


Since joining the Boettiger lab in the Spring of 2009, I have focused my work on understanding the neurobiology of decision making processes in human subjects with a special emphasis on decisions between immediate and delayed rewards (“Now” versus “Later”), a behavior that serves as an intermediate phenotype of many addictive disorders. Recently, I have become interested in working memory and how this process may impact Now/Later decision making.

My dissertation project focuses on how Now/Later decision making varies with age, dopamine signaling (assessed via genetic polymorphisms), and alcohol use and the role of frontostriatal circuits on this behavior. I plan to utilize the tools of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and behavioral neuroscience to better understand the neurobiology of Now/Later decision making from a developmental, functional, neuroanatomical, and genetic prospective with the goal of developing a better understanding of this addiction-related behavior.




2011-14: F31 NRSA Fellowship from NIAA
Project Title: Now Versus Later Decision Making: Effects of Frontal Development and Alcohol Use

2012-12: NC TRACS 2K Pilot Grant Award                                                                                                                         
Project Title: Investigating the Impact of Genetic Polymorphisms in Dopaminergic Signaling on Immediate Reward Bias Behavior

2012: Funded trainee for 2012 Neuroimaging Training Program Summer Course at UCLA

2012: Graduate Student Award, Cognitive Neuroscience Society 2012 Annual Meeting                           

2011: Funded trainee for 2011 Training Course in fMRI program at the University of Michigan 

2010: Graduate Mentor Award from UNC Office of Undergraduate Research

2010: Research Society on Alcoholism Student Merit Travel Award