Monique Smith,

Dr. Smith is an Assistant Professor at the University of California San Diego in the Departments of Neurobiology and Neurosciences.

She is a first-generation college student and received both her B.A. and M.A in Psychology from California State University San Marcos, under the mentorship of Dr. Keith Trujillo. She worked with Drs. Chris Evans and Amynah Pradhan at UCLA, where she developed her passion for understanding chronic pain.

Dr. Smith received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Oregon Health & Science University working with Drs. Ryabinin and Heinricher. It was during her graduate studies that she serendipitously discovered the social transfer of pain, and embarked upon a journey to study the neural mechanisms of empathy. Finally, she conducted her postdoctoral training at Stanford University with Dr. Robert Malenka, where she used cutting-edge neurotechnologies to investigate the social transfer of pain and analgesia.

mentoring approach

Dr. Smith is committed to inclusive mentoring and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in science. She engages in outreach and service activities related to these values. Monique identifies as she/her/hers and is a mother and an advocate for women in science. Outside of the lab, she enjoys the beach, camping, live music, and hanging out with her family.


The Smith Lab focuses on mechanistic understanding of neurobiological relationships between social behavior, pain, and emotion, while identifying the neural circuitry that is disrupted in disease models related to empathy, addiction, and depression.