Spring 2023 Real Triumphs Graduate
Degree: Ph.D. in Public Health
School: School of Public Health
College: Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Alexander Rodichkin dreams of advancing research to understand, prevent and treat neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
In 2018, inspired by his grandfather’s own experience with Parkinsonism and dementia, Alexander became the first student to enroll in FIU’s Brain, Behavior, and the Environment Ph.D. program.Under the guidance of his major professor, Dr. Tomás R. Guilarte, Alexander focused his research on studying a type of heavy metal called manganese and how high brain concentrations produce a movement disorder called childhood-onset manganese-induced dystonia parkinsonism. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disorder. Through his research, Alexander found a new way of studying the disease and found parts of the brain that were previously thought to be unaffected by the metal were actually affected.
Alexander’s research is laying the groundwork to develop therapies for manganese-induced parkinsonism.
As a doctoral student, he produced four peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals and presented his work at seven national conferences, including the Society of Toxicology and Society for Neuroscience. He has received countless accolades through awards, prizes and funding sources from organizations and institutions like the Society of Toxicology and FIU. He credits Dr. Guilarte as well as the Stempel College faculty and lab team for opening the door to research opportunities that have helped him cross the Ph.D. finish line.
T oday, Alexander is the first student to graduate from his doctoral program. He will stay at FIU after graduation to join the Brain, Behavior, and the Environment lab as a post-doctoral associate.
He hopes to one day become a professor to help educate the next generation of brain health researchers.
Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing
Office of the Dean
Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work