Featured Postdoc: Jeffry Alexander, Ph.D.

Jeffry Alexander, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. His interests in psychiatric genetics developed in an indirect fashion. After practicing as a veterinarian for seven years, he decided a change was in order and began looking for a career with more of a public health impact. Therefore, he pursued a master’s degree in public health (MPH) at VCU.

While completing his master’s degree, he worked in Dr. Brien Riley’s lab on the Irish Alcohol Study and used this sample for his thesis. Specifically, his master’s thesis tested whether the genetic variants that were previously associated with alcohol phenotypes in fruit flies were also associated in humans. After completion of his master’s degree, he earned a PhD in medical informatics at Virginia Tech. Here, he grew passionate about bioinformatics, all while maintaining his collaboration with Dr. Riley and growing more interested in psychiatric genetics. Therefore, upon graduation, he obtained his current postdoctoral position with Dr. Brien Riley, Ph.D. and Dr. B. Todd Webb, Ph.D. at VIPBG.

Dr. Alexander’s current research interests primarily involve bioinformatics and statistical genetics of alcohol use disorders and schizophrenia. By using the newest methodologies in next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis, he hopes to untangle the genetic causal components of these diseases. He is currently working on investigating possible reasons for the unexplained heritability in alcohol phenotypes, notably rare variation.

“One must in life choose between boredom and suffering.”

Madame de Stael

When he is not working, Dr. Alexander enjoys spending time with his wife and 18-month old daughter. He also plays ice hockey (as goalie for a recreational league) and enjoys travelling (especially to the river.)

Dr. Alexander recently discovered a favorite quote while he was watching his 7-year old nephew, who kept complaining of boredom.


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