Robert E. Schmidt, MD, PhD

Robert E. Schmidt, MD, PhD

Professor, Pathology & Immunology
Division Chief, Neuropathology
Section Head, Neuropathology


  • Neuropathology

Additional Titles

  • Head, Division of Neuropathology
  • Medical Director, Electron Microscopy Facility

Related Links


  • MD: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (1976)
  • PhD: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (1976)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (1976)
  • Intern and Resident in Pathology: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (1978)
  • Chief Resident, Neuropathology: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (1980)

Board Certifications

  • Anatomic Pathology: Board Certified
  • Neuropathology: Board Certified


  • Sophomore Honors, Washington University, 1967
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Washington University, 1968
  • Research Career Development Award, 1985 – 89
  • Member, Pathology A Study Section, 1991 – 95
  • MERIT award, NIH, 1999
  • John Kissane Teaching Award for Resident Education, 2002
  • Weil Award, Honorable Mention, Best Paper on Experimental Neuropathology, 2003
  • Lampert Lecturer, University of California, San Diego, 2004
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, 2006
  • Award for Meritorious Contributions to Neuropathology, American Association of Neuropathologists, 2021

Clinical Interests

  • Neuropathology

Research Interests

I closed my research laboratory in June 2011 after 31 years as an NIH and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation supported investigator and have focused subsequently on clinical neuropathology. I have recently been working on the development of an online atlas of neuropathology. Currently, I am a collaborator with NIH supported investigators who are interested in peripheral nerve disease, the treatment and prevention of radiation injury, neuroimmune and neuroinfectious neuropathology, microglial pathology, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Editorial Responsibilities

2007 – PresentSenior EditorBrain Pathology
2001 – PresentEditorial BoardJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
1991 – 1996Editorial BoardJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology

Service to the Department

2012 – PresentDirector, Electron Microscopy Facility
1992 – PresentDirector, Neuropathology
1992 – PresentDirector, Neuropathology Fellowship Program

Service to the University

2006 – 2008Member, Alumni Association Executive Council, Washington University School of Medicine

DBBS Graduate Program Affiliation

  • Neuroscience

Selected Publications

Dingwall CB, Strickland A, Yum S, Yim A, Zhu J, Wang P, Yurie Y, Schmidt RE, Sasaki Y, Bloom AJ, DiAntonio A, Milbrandt J. Macrophage depletion blocks congenital SARM1-dependent neuropathy. J Clin Invest. 2022 Oct 26:e159800. doi: 10.1172/JCI159800. PMID: 36287209.
Xiang B, Wen J, Schmidt RE, Sukstanskii AL, Mamah DT, Yablonskiy DA, Cross AH. Evaluating Brain Damage in Multiple Sclerosis with Simultaneous Multi-Angular-Relaxometry of Tissue. Ann Clin Trans Neurol, doi: 10.1002/acn3.51621 PMID: 36178006
Krus KL, Strickland A, Yamada Y, Devault L, Schmidt RE, Bloom AJ, Milbrandt J, DiAntonio A. Loss of Stathmin-2, a hallmark of TDP-43-associated ALS, causes motor neuropathy. Cell Rep. 2022 Jun 28;39(13):111001. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111001. PMID: 35767949
Shi Y, Andhey PS, Ising C, Wang K, Snipes LL, Boyer K, Lawson S, Yamada K, Qin W, Manis M, Serrano JR, Benitez BA, Schmidt RE, Artyomov M, Ulrich JD, Holtzman JD. Overexpressing low-density lipoprotein receptor reduces tau-associated neurodegeneration in relation to apoE-linked mechanisms. Neuron. June 21, 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.05.034 PMID: 34157306
Redmann V, Lamb CA, Hwang S, Orchard R, Kim S, Razi M, Milam A, Park S, Yokoyama CC, Kambal A, Kreamalmeyer D, Bosch MK, Xiao M, Green K, Kim J, Pruett-Miller SM, Ornitz D, Allen PM, Beatty WL, Schmidt RE, DiAntonio A, Tooze SA, Virgin HW. Clec16a is critical for autolysosome function and Purkinje cell survival. (In press)
Hurth KM, Schmidt RE, Benzinger TLS, Tarawneh RM, Ghoshal N, Clifford DB, Geschwind M, Morris JC, Galvin JE, Cairns NJ. Whipple’s disease masquerades as ‘dementia with Lewy bodies’. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord (2015) 29: 85-89 (PMID:23995819)
Perez-Torres CJ, Yuan L, Schmidt RE, Rich KM, Ackerman JJH, Garbow JR. Perilesional edema in radiation necrosis reflects axonal degeneration. Radiation Oncology (2015) 10:33-37. (PMID: 25636531)
Cantoni C, Bollman B, Licastro D, Xie M, Mikesell R, Schmidt R, Yuede CM, Galimberti D, Olivecrona G, Klein RS, Cross AH, Otero K, Piccio L. TREM2 regulates microglial cell activation in response to demyelination in vivo. Acta Neuropathol (2015) 129:429-447. (PMID: 25631124)
Wang Y, Sun P, Wang Q, Trinkaus K, Schmidt RE, Naismith RT, Cross AH, Song S-K. Differentiation and quantification of inflammation, demyelination and axon injury or loss in multiple sclerosis.   Brain (2015) 138 (Pt 5): 1223-1238. (PMID: 25724201)
Perez-Torres CJ, Yuan L, Schmidt RE, Rich KM, Drzymala RE, Hallahan DE, Ackerman JJH, Garbow JR. Specificity of vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for radiation necrosis. Radiother Oncol. (2015) 117:382-5. (PMID: 26376163)
Jiang X, Perez-Torres CJ, Thotala D, Engelbach JA, Yuan L, Cates J, Gao F, Drzymala RE, Rich KM, Schmidt RE, Ackerman JJ, Hallahan DE, Garbow JR. A GSK-3β inhibitor protects against radiation necrosis in mouse brain. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. (2014) 89:714-21. (PMID: 24969790; PMCID: PMC4307920)
Jiang X, Yuan L, Engelbach, Cates J, Perez-Torres J, Gao F, Thotala D, Drzymala RE, Rich KM, Hallahan DE, Ackerman JJH, Garbow JR. A Gamma-Knife-Enabled Mouse Model of Cerebral Single-Hemisphere Delayed Radiation Necrosis. PLoS One. (2015) Oct 6;10(10):e0139596.
Bilbao JM, Schmidt RE. Biopsy Diagnosis of Peripheral Neuropathy. Second Edition, Springer, 2015.
Schmidt RE. Diabetic Neuropathies. Chapter 28 in: ISN (International Society of Neuropathology) Pathology and Genetics of Peripheral Nerve Disorders. (2014) Vallat JM & Weis J (Eds), pp 224-232.
Schmidt RE. Non-vasculitic ischemic neuropathies. Chapter 35 In: ISN (International Society of Neuropathology) Pathology and Genetics of Peripheral Nerve Disorders. (2014) Vallat JM & Weis J (Eds), pp 276-279.
Gru AA, Kolar G, Wagner-Johnston ND, Schmidt RE, Yaseen NR. A 54 year-old man with progressive vision and hearing loss and diffuse pachymeningeal thickening. Brain Pathology (2014) 24:197-200. (PMID: 25121192)
Jiang X, Engelbach JA, Yuan L, Cates J, Drzymala RE, Hallahan DE, Rich KM, Schmidt RE, Ackerman JJH, Garbow JR. Anti-VEGF antibodies mitigate the development of radiation necrosis in mouse brain. Clinical Cancer Research (2014), 20:2695-2702.
Jiang X, Perez-Torres CJ, Thotala D, Engelbach JA, Yuan L, Cates J, Gao F, Drzymala RE, Rich KM, Schmidt RE, Ackerman JJH, Hallahan DE, Garbow JR A GSK-3 inhibitor protects against radiation necrosis in mouse brain. Int J Rad Oncol, Biol, Phys (2014) 89:714-21. (PMID:24969790)
Cruz-Orengo L, Daniels BP, Dorsey D, Basak SA, Grajales-Reyes JG, McCandless EE, Piccio L, Schmidt RE, Cross AH, Crosby S, Klein RS. Enhanced sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2 expression underlies female CNS autoimmunity susceptibility. J Clin Invest (2014) 124:2571-2584.   (PMID: 24812668)
Biessels GJ, Bril V, Calcutt NA, Cameron NE, Cotter MA, Dobrowsky R, Feldman EL, Fernyhough P, Jakobsen J, Malik RA, Mizisin AP, Oates PJ, Obrosova IG, Pop-Busui R, Russell JW, Sima AA, Stevens MJ, Schmidt RE, Tesfaye S, Veves A, Vinik AI, Wright DE, Yagihashi S, Yorek MA, Ziegler D, Zochodne DW. Phenotyping animal models of diabetic neuropathy: a consensus statement of the diabetic neuropathy study group of the EASD (Neurodiab). J Peripher Nerv Syst (2014) 19:77-87. (PMID: 24934510)
Kolar GR, Kothari PH, Khanlou N, Jen JC, Schmidt RE, Vinters HV. Neuropathology and genetics of cerebroretinal vasculopathies. Brain Pathol (2014) 24:510-8, 2014. (PMID: 25323666)
Schmidt RE. Autonomic Neuropathy in Experimental Models of Diabetes Mellitus. Chapter 36 In Zochodne D and Malik R, Eds. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 2014, pp. 579-602.
Schmidt RE, Bilbao JM. Diseases of Peripheral Nerve. Chapter 24 in Greenfield’s Neuropathology, Edition 9. Eds. Love S, Perry A, Ironside J, Budka H., CRC Press, 2014, pp. 1413-1514.
Kolar GR, Miller-Thomas MM, Schmidt RE, Simpson JR, Rich KM, Linette GP. Neo-Adjuvant treatment of a solitary melanoma brain metastasis with Vemurafenib. J Clin Oncology 2013 Jan 20; 31(3):e40-3. Epub 2012 Dec 10. (PMID: 23233711)
Schmidt RE. Nerve biopsies. Chapter 42 In: The Washington Manual of Surgical Pathology, Eds. Humphrey PA, Dehner LP, Pfeiffer JD.   Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012, pp. 673-682.
Klawiter EC, Schmidt RE, Trinkaus K, Liang HF, Budde MD, Naismith RT, Song SK, Cross AH, Benzinger TL. Radial Diffusivity Predicts Demyelination in ex-vivo Multiple Sclerosis Spinal Cords. Neuroimage 2011, 55:1454-1460. (PMID: 2123859; PMCID: PMC30627477)
Viader A, Golden JP, Baloh RH, Schmidt RE, Hunter DA, Milbrandt J. Schwann cell mitochondrial metabolism supports long term axonal survival and peripheral nerve function. J Neurosci 2011, 31:10128-10140. (PMID: 21752989; PMCID: PMC3147283)
Clifford DB, Ances B, Costello C, Rosen-Schmidt S, Andersson M, Parks D, Perry A, Yerra R, Schmidt R, Alvarez E, Tyler KL.   Rituximab-associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in rheumatoid arthritis, Arch Neurol, 2011, 68: 1156-1164. (PMID:21555606).
Beirowski B, Gustin J, Armour SM, Yamamoto Y, Viader A, North BJ, Michan S, Baloh RH, Golden JP, Schmidt RE, Sinclair DA, Auwerx J, Milbrandt J. Sir-two-homolog 2 (Sirt2) modulates peripheral myelination through polarity protein Par-3/atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2011, 108: E952-611. PMID 21949390
Schmidt RE, Feng D, Wang Q, Green KG, Snipes LL, Yamin M, Brines M. Effect of Insulin and an Erythropoietin-Derived Peptide (ARA290) on Established Neuritic Dystrophy and Neuronopathy in Akita (Ins2Akita) Diabetic Mouse Sympathetic Ganglia. Exp Neurology 2011, 232:126-135, (PMID 21872588)
Kim JH, Loy DN, Wang Q, Budde MD, Schmidt RE, Trinkaus K., Song S-K. Diffusion tensor imaging at three hours after traumatic spinal cord injury predicts long-term locomotor recovery. J Neurotrauma, 2009, 27: 587-598. (PMID: 20001686; PMCID: PMC2867549)
Lennerz JK, Hurov JB, White LS, Prior JL, Planer GJ, Schmidt RE, Gereau RW, Piwnica-Worms D, Piwnica-Worms H. Loss of Par-1/MARK3/C-TAK1 kinase leads to reduced adiposity and resistance to hepatic steatosis and defective gluconeogenesis. Mol. Cell. Biol. 2010, 30:5043-5056 (PMID: 20733003; PMCID: PMC2953066)
Cairns NJ, Gitcho MA, Perrin RJ, Schmidt RE,   Gru A, Green KG, Carter D, Taylor-Reinwald L, Morris JC, Pestronk A, Al-Lozi MT, Baloh RH. TDP-43 proteinopathy in familial motor neuron disease with TARDBP A315T mutation: a case report. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 2010, 36:673-679. (PMID: 20819167; PMCID: PMC2978282)
Mancuso DJ, Kotzbauer P, Wozniak DF, Sims HF, Jenkins CM, Guan S, Han X, Yang K, Sun G, Malik I, Conyers S, Green KG, Schmidt RE, Gross RW. Genetic ablation of calcium-independent phospholipase A2 leads to alterations in hippocampal cardiolipin content and molecular species distribution, mitochondrial degeneration, autophagy and cognitive dysfunction. J Biol Chem 2009, 284:35632-35644, 2009 Abstract
Malik I, Turk J, Mancuso DJ, Montier L, Wohltmann M, Wozniak D, Schmidt RE, Gross RW, Kotzbauer PT. Disrupted membrane homeostasis and accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins in a mouse model of infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy due to PLA2G6 Mutations. Am J Pathol 2008, 172:406-416, 2008 Abstract
McCandless EE, Piccio L, Woerner BM, Schmidt RE, Rubin JB, Cross AH, Klein RS. Pathologic expression of CXCL12 at the blood-brain barrier correlates with severity of multiple sclerosis. Am J Pathol 2008, 172:799-808, 2008 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Parvin CA, Green KG. Synaptic ultrastructural pathology anticipates the development of neuroaxonal dystrophy in the sympathetic ganglia of aged and diabetic mice. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2008, 67:1166-1186, 2008 Abstract
Zhao Z, Fux B, Goodwin M, Dunay IR, Strong D, Miller BC, Cadwell K, Delgado-Vargas M, Ponpuak M, Green KG, Schmidt RE, Mizushima N, Deretic V, Sibley LD, Virgin HW. Atg5 is essential for cellular immunity in ivvo and recruitment of a p47 GTPase to the Toxoplasma gondii parasitophorous vacuole in macrophages. Cell Host Microbe 4: 458-469, 2008, 2008 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Green KG, Snipes LL, Feng D. Neuritic dystrophy and neuronopathy in Akita (Ins2Akita) diabetic mouse sympathetic ganglia. Exp Neurol, 2008, 216: 207-218, 2008 Abstract
Budde, M.D., Kim, J.H., Liang, H.F., Schmidt, R.E., Russell, J.H., Cross, A.H., Song, S.K. Toward Accurate Diagnosis of White Matter. Magn Reson Med 57 (4):688-95, 2007 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Parvin CA, Beaudet LN. Sympathetic neuroaxonal dystrophy in the aged rat pineal gland. Neurobiol Aging 27:1514-23, 2006 Abstract
Perry A, Schmidt RE. Cancer Therapy-Associated CNS Neuropathology: An Update and Review of the Literature. Acta Neuropathol 111:197-212, 2006 Abstract
Leone TC, Lehman JJ, Finck BN, Schaeffer PJ, Wende AR, Boudina S, Courtois M, Wozniak DF, Sambandam. The transcriptional co-activator PGC-1á as a critical transducer of postnatal growth and energy metabolic maturation programs. PLoS Biol 3:e101, 2005 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Beaudet LN, Parvin CA, Yarasheski KE, Smith SR, Williamson JR, Peterson RG, O. A potent sorbitol dehydrogenase inhibitor exacerbates autonomic neuropathy in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Exp Neurol 192:407-419, 2005 Abstract
Carroll SL, Byer SJ, Dorsey DA, Watson MA, Schmidt RE. Ganglion-specific patterns of diabetes-modulated gene expression are established in prevertebral and paravertebral sympathetic ganglia prior to the development of neuroaxonal dystrophy.. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 63 (11): 1144-1154, 2004 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Beaudet LN, Peterson RG. Analysis of the Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) type 2 diabetic rat model suggests a neurotrophic role for insulin/IGF-I in diabetic autonomic neuropathy. Am J Pathol 163:21-28, 2003 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Beaudet LN, Frederick KE, Parvin CA, Plurad SB, Levisetti MG. Non-obese diabetic mice rapidly develop dramatic sympathetic neuritic dystrophy – A new experimental model of diabetic autonomic neuropathy. Am J Pathol 163:2077-2091, 2003 Abstract
Schmidt RE. Age-related sympathetic ganglionic neuropathology: Human pathology and animal models. Auton Neurosci 96:63-72, 2002 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Beaudet LN, Parvin CA, Escandon E. Effect of NGF and neurotrophin-3 on experimental diabetic autonomic neuropathy. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 60:263-273, 2001Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Beaudet LN, Plurad SB, Parvin CA, Ohara S. Effect of IGF-I and neurotrophin-3 on gracile neuroaxonal dystrophy in diabetic and aging rats. Brain Res 876:88-94, 2000 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Roth KA, Parvin CA, Hounsom L, Tomlinson DR. Effect of streptozotocin-induced diabetes on NGF, P75(NTR) and Trk A content of prevertebral and paravertebral rat sympathetic ganglia. Brain Res 867:149-156, 2000 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Beaudet LN, Plurad SB, Parvin CA, Miller MS. Insulin-like growth factor I reverses experimental diabetic autonomic neuropathy. Am J Pathol 155:1651-1660, 1999 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Beaudet LN, Plurad SB, Williamson JR, Ido Y. Effect of sorbitol dehydrogenase inhibition on experimental diabetic autonomic neuropathy. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 57:1175-1189, 1998 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Dorsey DA, Selznick LA, DiStefano PS, Carroll SL, Beaudet LN, Roth KA.Neurotrophin sensitivity of prevertebral and paravertebral rat sympathetic ganglia. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 57:158-167, 1998 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Beaudet LN, Plurad SB, Snider WD, Ruit KG. Pathologic alterations in pre- and post-synaptic elements in aged mouse sympathetic ganglia. J. Neurocytol 24:189-206, 1995 Abstract
Ohara S, Roth KA, Beaudet LN, Schmidt RE. Transganglionic NPY response to sciatic nerve injury in young and aged rats. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 53:646-662, 1994 Abstract
Zhang LI, Schmidt RE, Yan Q, Snider WD. NGF and NT-3 have differing effects on the growth of dorsal root axons in developing mammalian spinal cord. J Neurosci 14:5187-5201, 1994 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Plurad SB, Parvin CA, Roth KA. The effect of diabetes and aging on human sympathetic autonomic ganglia. Am J Pathol 143:143-153, 1993 Abstract
Schmidt RE, McAtee SJ, Plurad DA, Parvin CA, Cogswell BE, Roth KA. Differential susceptibility of prevertebral and paravertebral sympathetic ganglia to experimental injury. Brain Res 460:214-226, 1988 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Plurad SB, Olack BJ, Scharp DW. The effect of pancreatic islet transplantation and insulin therapy on experimental diabetic autonomic neuropathy. Diabetes 32:532-540, 1983 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Modert CW, Yip HK, Johnson EM Jr. Retrograde axonal transport of intravenously administered 125I-Nerve growth factor in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Diabetes 32:654-663, 1983 Abstract
Schmidt RE, Johnson EM Jr, Nelson JS. Experimental diabetic autonomic neuropathy. Am J Pathol 103:210-225, 1981 Abstract

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