websiteImage.png

I grew up in Jamul, CA, a small rural community just east of San Diego, California.  I received my B.S. from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). During this time, I volunteered in the lab of Dr. Andrea Chiba where I helped research the role of the basal forebrain cholinergic system in sensory processing and learning. After a brief stint as lab manager in Dr. Chiba’s lab, I applied to the UCSD Cognitive Science PhD program. I completed my graduate research in the lab of Dr. Douglas Nitz. In the Nitz lab, we utilized in vivo electrophysiology to investigate spatial systems and the basal forebrain subcortical projection system. My dissertation research explored the role of Retrosplenial cortex in the extraction and encoding of spatial relationships mapped in different spatial coordinate systems. I am now located in Boston, MA where I am a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Michael Hasselmo.

Feel free to email me for poster or paper reprints, questions about the NSF GRFP or UCSD Cognitive Science PhD program, scientific discussion, or anything else!

email: asalexan@bu.edu | asalexan@gmail.com
twitter: @_AndyAlexander


Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Science 2011-2016
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA

Bachelor of Science with Honors in Cognitive Science 2004-2009
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA
Specialization in Neuroscience

Research Experience

Postdoctoral Research
Dr. Michael Hasselmo Laboratory 2017-present
Boston University, Center for Systems Neuroscience
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Graduate Research
Dr. Douglas Nitz Laboratory 2009-2016
University of California, San Diego
Spatial representations of the Retrosplenial cortex and Physiological dynamics of Basal Forebrain neurons in complex behavior
In vivo electrophysiology, complex analytics of spiking activity and LFP in relation to behavior, behavioral training, team management and mentoring, histology, surgery, manuscript preparation, grant writing, DREADD, etc.

Dr. Andrea Chiba Laboratory 2008-2011
University of California, San Diego
Encoding of context in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and Functional assessment of Basal Forebrain cholinergic projections in discrimination of temporally-modulated stimuli
Psychophysics, unbiased stereology, viral injections, immunochemistry

Major Research Awards and Fellowships

NSF Graduate Research Fellow 2011-2016
Research Field: Neuroscience

Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind Innovative Research Grant 2014
Principal Investigator

Publications

Alexander, A.S., & Nitz, D.A. (2017). Spatially Periodic Activation Patterns of Retrosplenial Cortex Encode Route Sub-spaces and Distance Traveled. Current Biology. 2017 Jun 5;27(11):1551-1560.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.036. Epub 2017 May 18. link

Rounds, E.L., Scott, E.O., Alexander, A.S., De Jong, K.A., Nitz, D.A.,  Krichmar, J.L. (2016). An evolutionary framework for replicating neurophysiological data and spiking neural networks. International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving from Nature, 537-547. Springer International Publishing. link

Alexander, A. S., & Nitz, D. A. (2015). Retrosplenial cortex maps the conjunction of internal and external spaces. Nat. Neuro.18(8), 1143-1151. link

Tingley, D., Alexander, A. S., Quinn, L. K., Chiba, A. A., & Nitz, D. A. (2015). Cell Assemblies of the Basal Forebrain. J. Neurosci., 35(7), 2992-3000. link

Tingley, D., Alexander, A. S., Kolbu, S., de Sa, V. R., Chiba, A. A., & Nitz, D. A. (2014). Task-phase-specific dynamics of basal forebrain neuronal ensembles. Front. Sys. Neuro.8. link

Rangel, L. M., Alexander, A. S., Aimone, J. B., Wiles, J., Gage, F. H., Chiba, A. A., & Quinn, L. K. (2014). Temporally selective contextual encoding in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Nat. Comm.5. link

Minces, V. H., Alexander, A. S., Datlow, M., Alfonso, S. I., & Chiba, A. A. (2013). The role of visual cortex acetylcholine in learning to discriminate temporally modulated visual stimuli. Front. Behav. Neuro., 7. link

Presentations and Posters

Talks
Behavioral and Neurophysiological Correlates of a Novel Rodent Spatial Insight Paradigm.
Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind Innovative Research Symposium, UCSD, May 2015

Retrosplenial cortex activity integrates across spatial frames of reference.
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Park City, January 2014

Basal forebrain neuronal activity reflects probabilistic uncertainty in a visual attention task. UCSD Cognitive Science Wa Talk, January 2013

Basal forebrain neuronal activity reflects probabilistic uncertainty in a visual attention task. Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, October 2012

Auditory perception, attention, and the cholinergic neuromodulatory system.
Cognitive Science Honors Thesis Defense, UCSD, 2009

Auditory perception, attention, and the cholinergic neuromodulatory system.
Undergraduate Research Conference, UCSD, 2009

Sensory Learning and the Cholinergic Input to the Sensory Cortices
Undergraduate Research Conference, UCSD, 2008

Conference Posters

Representation of self-motion, target position, and place in hippocampus and posterior parietal and retrosplenial cortices during pursuit behavior.
Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, November 2016

Hippocampal and posterior parietal cortex spatial encoding during pursuit.
FENS Forum 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark, July 2016

Retrosplenial cortex spatial firing patterns represent sub-spaces within broader routes
1st Interdisciplinary Navigation Symposium (iNav), Bad Gastein, Austria, June 2016

Route versus environment-centered properties in the spatial firing patterns of retrosplenial cortex neurons.
Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, October 2015

Retrosplenial cortex and Hippocampus share modulation of firing activity by allocentric space and the Hippocampal theta rhythm.
Society for Neuroscience, Washington D.C., November 2014

Cell Assemblies of the Basal Forebrain.
Joint Symposium on Neural Computation, UC Irvine, May 2014

Retrosplenial cortex activity integrates allocentric, route-centric, and egocentric spatial frames of reference.
Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, November 2013

Cell Assemblies of the Basal Forebrain.
Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, November 2013

Firing of basal forebrain and posterior parietal cortex neurons maps multiple distinct task phases in a selective attention task.
Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, October 2012

Basal forebrain neuronal activity predicts trial outcome subsequent to cue detection
in a selective attention task.
Society for Neuroscience, Washington DC, November 2011

Technical Skills

Animal Behavior: rat handling and training on track running, visuospatial attention tasks, and psychophysical paradigms, behavioral scoring, design of novel behavioral tasks to investigate the function of basal forebrain and retrosplenial cortex.

In vivo Electrophysiology: Microdrive construction and design for targeting of multiple brain regions simultaneously, surgical microdrive implantation, single unit recordings in awake-behaving rats (Plexon SortClient), spike sorting (Plexon Offline Sorter).

MATLAB for analysis of electrophysiological data

Tissue preparation, staining, and immunohistochemistry

Unbiased Stereology

Viral methods (192-IgG-Saporin, DREADDs, etc.)

Teaching

Instructor
Systems Neuroscience, UCSD, Winter 2015, Course Website
Systems Neuroscience, UCSD, Summer 2015, Course Website

Teaching Assistant
Hands-On Computing, UCSD, 2015
Cognitive Neuroscience, UCSD, 2014
From Sleep to Attention, UCSD, 2014
Systems Neuroscience, UCSD, 2011-2013
Neuroanatomy, UCSD, 2008

Volunteer/Outreach

San Diego Brain Bee Judge
UCSD Triton Day Outreach
Preuss School Student Mentor
UCSD Neuroscience Outreach Program
UCSD Undergraduate Honors Student Advisor (David Tingley, Shelby Cohantz)

Professional Society Memberships

Society for Neuroscience

Research Interests

Mechanisms of anchoring and interrelating spatial representations generated in distinct brain regions and reference frames.

The function of oscillatory dynamics in the coordination of information processing between cortical and subcortical structures.

Learning and memory and interactions between the basal forebrain projection system and the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s