Education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA (2013-Present)
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
PhD, Neuroscience (expected Aug 2019)
Current GPA: 4.9 (of 5.0)

Kent State University, Kent OH (2009-2013)
B.A., Psychology – Highest Honors
Cumulative GPA: 3.83 (of 4.0)

Internship

MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), Cambridge MA (Summer 2012)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Kay Tye Laboratory
Optogenetic dissection of BLA inputs to vHPC

Research Experience

PhD Graduate Student (2014-Present)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Kay Tye Laboratory
Hierarchical representation of valence and context in thalamus and amygdala

MSRP Summer Research Student (Summer 2012)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Kay Tye Laboratory
Optogenetic & behavioral dissection of neural circuitry underlying anxiety  

Undergraduate Research Assistant (2011-2013)         
Kent State University, OH
Aaron Jasnow Laboratory
Pharmacological & behavioral interrogation of hippocampally-dependent memory precision 

Undergraduate Research Assistant (2011-2013)                     
David Riccio Laboratory
Kent State University, OH
Behavioral psychological studies exploring principles of memory and forgetting

Publications

Context-dependent valence encoding in a thalamo-amygdala circuit.
Leppla C, Namburi P, Glober G, Matthews G, Feng Y, Jay M & Tye K
in prep

Corticoamygdala transfer of socially derived information gates observational learning.
Allsop A, Wichmann R, Mills F, Burgos-Robles A, Chang CJ, Felix-Ortiz A, Vienne A, Beyeler A, Izadmehr E, Glober G, Cum M, Stergiadou J, Anandalingam K, Farris K, Namburi P, Leppla C, Weddington J, Nieh E, Smith A, Ba D, Brown E & Tye K
Cell, (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.04.004 

Acute food deprivation rapidly modifies valence-coding microcircuits in the Amygdala.
Calhoon G, Sutton A, Chang CJ, Libster A, Glober G, Lévêque C, Beyeler A, Murphy D, Namburi P, Leppla C & Tye K
BioRxiv, (2018). doi: 10.1101/285189

Amygdala inputs to prefrontal cortex guide behavior amid conflicting cues of reward and punishment.
Burgos-Robles A, Kimchi E, Izadmehr E, Porzenheim MJ, Ramos-Guasp W, Nieh E, Felix-Ortiz A, Namburi P, Leppla C, Presbrey K, Anandalingam K, Pagan-Rivera P, Anahtar M, Beyeler A & Tye K
Nat Neuro, (2017). doi:10.1038/nn.4553 

Lateral hypothalamic inputs to the VTA bidirectionally modulate dopamine release.
Nieh E, Vander Weele C, Presbrey K, Wichmann R, Leppla C, Izadmehr I, Matthews G & Tye K
Neuron, (2016). doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.04.035

Bidirectional modulation of anxiety-related and social behaviors by amygdala projections to the medial prefrontal cortex.
Felix-Ortiz A, Burgos-Robles A, Bhagat N, Leppla C & Tye K
Neuroscience, (2015). doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.07.041

Decoding neural circuit that control compulsive sucrose-seeking.
Nieh E, Matthews G, Allsop S, Presbrey K, Leppla C, Wichmann R, Neve R, Wildes C & Tye K
Cell, (2015). doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.01.003

BLA to vHPC Inputs Modulate Anxiety-Related Behaviors.
Felix-Ortiz AC., Beyeler A, Seo C, Leppla C, Wildes C & Tye K
Neuron, (2013).  658-664.

Presentations

Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA (2018)
Context-dependent valence encoding in a thalamo-amygdala circuit
Leppla C, Namburi P, Glober G, Matthews G, Feng Y, Jay M & Tye K

Departmental Talk at Plastic Lunch presentation series, BCS MIT, (2018)
Thalamic filtering of task-relevant information to amygdala across changing contingencies
Leppla C, Namburi P, Chang CJ, Glober G, Feng Y, Jay M & Tye K

Poster presentation at Cosyne Conference, Denver, CO (2018)
Sensory to integrative encoding across discrimination and reversal learning in thalamus and amygdala
Leppla C, Namburi P, Chang CJ, Glober G, Feng Y, Jay M & Tye K

Poster presentation at Gordon Amygdala Research Conference, Easton, MA (2017)
Sensory to integrative encoding across discrimination and reversal learning in thalamus and amygdala
Leppla C, Namburi P, Glober G, Feng Y, Jay M & Tye K

Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL (2015)
Hypothalamic inputs to the midbrain bidirectionally modulate dopamine release
Nieh E, Vander Weele C, Presbrey K, Wichmann R, Leppla C, Izadmehr I, Matthews G & Tye K 

Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL (2015)
Coordination of competing fear and reward memories by amygdala-prefrontal networks
Burgos-Robles A, Kimchi E, Ramos-Guasp W, Felix-Ortiz A, Nieh E, Leppla C, Namburi P, Pagan-Rivera P, Presbrey K, Anahtar M & Tye K

Poster presentation at Gordon Amygdala Research Conference, Easton, MA (2015)
Neurotensin Modulation of Valence-Specific Learning in the Basolateral Amygdala
Namburi P, Felix-Ortiz A, Beyeler A, Yorozu S, Leppla C, Gray J & Tye K

Poster presentation at Gordon Research Conference, MA (2013)
Optogenetic manipulations of amygdala projections to the ventral hippocampus modulate anxiety-like behaviors.
Felix-Ortiz AC, Beyeler A, Seo C, Leppla C, Wildes C & Tye, K

Puerto Rico Neuroscience, San Juan, Puerto Rico (2012)
Optogenetic manipulation of amygdala projections to the medial prefrontal cortex and the ventral hippocampus modulate anxiety-like
behavior.
Felix-Ortiz AC, Beyeler A, Seo C, Leppla, C, Wildes, C & Tye K 

Brain Lunch, MIT, Cambridge, MA (2012)
The Functional Contribution of Distal Amygdala Projections in Anxiety: An Optogenetic Circuit Dissection.
Felix-Ortiz AC, Beyeler A, Seo C, Leppla C, Wildes C & Tye K

Poster presentation at Society For Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA (2012)
Dopamine Controls Precision of Long-Term Memory.
Leppla C, Trask S & Jasnow A 

Poster presentation at MIT Summer Research Poster Session, MIT (2012)
Anxiety Control Through Optogenetic Manipulation of Distal Amygdala Projections
Leppla C, Felix-Ortiz A & Tye K

Poster presentation at 27th Annual Kent State Graduate Research Symposium, KSU (2012)
Dopamine Controls Precision of Long-Term Memory
Leppla C, Trask S & Jasnow A

Poster presentation at Kent State Undergraduate Research Symposium, KSU (2011)
Dopamine Controls Precision of Long-Term Memory
Leppla C, Trask S & Jasnow A

Innovation & Expertise

Electrophysiology
-Custom design and fabrication of microelectrode multi-arrays with integrated fiber optics for simultaneous multi-site single-unit experiments utilizing optogenetics in vivo
-Expertise in conducting optogenetic photoidentification experiments in chronic multi-site recording experiments in vivo
-Extensive experience setting up and working with both Open Ephys and Tucker-David Technologies electrophysiology systems
-Experience building and designing circuit-based solutions for interfacing electrophysiology and behavioral systems

Mouse behavior
-Development of high yield behavioral systems and experiments for simultaneous capture of complex behavior and electrophysiology data
-Extensive experience designing complex Pavlovian behavioral paradigms

3d printing
-Fluency in 3d modeling (Blender)
-Design and implementation of custom behavioral apparatuses, including miniaturized data-tracking mouse treadmill for headfixed recording experiments

Software
-MATLAB
-Neuroexplorer
-Offline Sorter
-Blender
-Microsoft Office

Other Skills
-TyeLab Website— Updating and content management (2014-present)
-Fine woodworking — Custom cabinetry, furniture and home building (2004-2009)
-Commercial and independent cinematic video production — videography, motion graphics, lighting and editing (2005-2010)

Teaching Experience

Senior Teaching Assistant (Spring 2016)
MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department
9.12: Experimental Molecular Neurobiology

Junior Teaching Assistant (Spring 2015)
MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department
9.12: Experimental Molecular Neurobiology

Workshop instructor (Fall 2013)
MIT Splash! 2013
The meat that makes you think: Neuroanatomy & Sheep Brain Dissection    

Fellowship & Awards

Angus MacDonald Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2016)
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (2015-present)
Summa Cum Laude, Kent State University (2013)
Dean’s List, Kent State University (2009-2013)
Honorable Mention – NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (2013)

Memberships

Society for Neuroscience (2012-present)
Midwestern Psychological Society (2011)
Pavlovian Society (2011)