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
High-yield interrogation of discriminative learning for avoidable and unavoidable outcomes

Rotating Graduate Student (Spring 2014)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Gloria Choi Laboratory
Optogenetic dissection of olfaction based valence assignment

Rotating Graduate Student (Fall 2013)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Kwanghun Chung Laboratory
Analyzing and prototyping CLARITY antibody labeling systems

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

Auditory thalamic filtering of task-relevant information to amygdala for discriminative learning of avoidable and unavoidable outcomes.
Leppla C, Namburi P, Glober G, Chang CJ, Jay M, Feng Y, Chen H, Wang J, Olson J, Wildes C & Tye K
In prep, expected submission fall 2019

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.

Invited Panels

Smithsonian Institute’s InnoSkate 2016, Cambridge MA
Skateboarding, memory and the Brain
Co-panelist: Rodney Mullen

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 for simultaneous multi-site single-unit recording with optogenetic stimulation
-Expertise conducting multisite Phototagging experiments in freely behaving and headfixed rodents
-Experience planning and carrying out whole-cell patch-clamp experiments as well as troubleshooting and maintaining rigs

Behavior
-Extensive experience designing and executing complex behavioral paradigms incorporating optogenetics and electrophysiology in rodents

Hardware & Handskills
-Broad experience designing and building custom behavioral systems optimized for collecting synced multi-dimensional behavioral and neural data
-Microscope-aided hand fabrication of small circuits & devices
-Soldering, circuits & electronics
-Substantial 3d modeling and printing experience

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
-Blender
-Offline Sorter & Neuroexplorer
-Prizm
-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, color grading (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)