I'M ALEX






    PhD Candidate at NYU

    brain evolution

    neurological disorders

    sex differences in the brain


  • What I Do

    I'm broadly interested in primate brain evolution. In particular, I'm fascinated by the impact of sexual selection on primate cognition, neuroanatomy, and gene expression, and how this relates to the emergence of human neurological disorders. My dissertation will address this topic through both broad comparative analyses and targeted within-species studies. I will be considering multiple levels of brain organization, including brain region volumes, sulcal morphology, and gene expression.


    Besides writing R code and looking at brains all day... I'm a passionate Teacher and I mentor some wonderful ladies (who are sure to be future STEM leaders)! Kimberly and I worked together to get her a DART research grant, and she has since graduated from the Teacher's College of Columbia. Zofia and Etta learned bioinformatics in our lab through the NYU ARISE program for high school students, and are now both undergrads at some amazing universities. Gabby and Varvy are wonderful NYU undergrads who sequenced candidate genes in our lab as a part of the NYU DURI program.


    I am thankful for every day spent learning something new. Leaving Wall Street was the best decision I've ever made.


    Click here to check out what my fantastic lab-mates are doing!

  • Projects

    A selection of papers and projects I am/have been involved with:

    Primate brain size is predicted by diet, not sociality (2017)

    Click here to read the MS, and here for a blog-style piece I wrote!

    Media: Scientific American, NPR, New Scientist

    Primate mosaic brain evolution reflects selection on sensory & cognitive specialization (2019)

    Click here to read the MS!

    Encephalization & longevity coevolved in Euarchontoglires but not in other mammals (2018)

    Click here to read the MS!

    Social hierarchy position in female mice is associated w/ plasma cort & hypothalamic gene expression (2019)

    Click here to read the MS!

    Greater variability in chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) brain structure among males (2020)


    Click here to read the MS!

    Sex effects on gene expression across the rhesus macaque brain

    Ongoing collaboration with the Platt Lab, Smack Lab, and Caribbean Primate Research Center

    Primate microbiome effects on mouse brain gene expression


    Ongoing collaboration with Dr. Katherine Amato's and Dr. Chris Kuzawa's Research Labs

  • Funding/Collaborations

    Thank you to everyone who supports me and my research!

    New York University


    Dr. James Higham,

    Dr. Scott Williams,

    Dr. Terry Harrison


    MacCracken Fellowship

    GSAS Predoctoral Summer Fellowship

    New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology


    National Science Foundation

    Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)


    Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG)

    Caribbean Primate Research Center

    University of Puerto Rico

    George Washington University

    Dr. Chet Sherwood's Laboratory for Evolutionary Neuroscience

    Georgia State University | Neuroscience Institute

    Dr. Bill Hopkins' Research Lab

    Columbia University

    Dr. James Curley's Research Lab

    University of Dusseldorf

    Cécile and Oskar Vogt Institute of Brain Research

    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    Dr. Patrick Hof's Laboratory of Neuromorphology

    University of Pennsylvania

    Platt Lab

    (Dr. Michael Platt)

    University of Washington

    Smack Lab

    (Dr. Noah Snyder-Mackler)

    Northwestern University