Alicia Pickrell has been named as an assistant professor in the School of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech, part of the Virginia Tech College of Science.

Pickrell’s research focuses on understanding how and why neurons become vulnerable during disease states and the role that mitochondrial function plays in relation to disease. She also researches how mitochondrial dysfunction is tolerated by different neuronal subtypes and to what extent mitochondrial function is affected by aggregates that accumulate in neurodegenerative diseases, such as alpha-synuclein.

Pickrell earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in political science, the other in neuroscience, at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Miami’s Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. During her graduate training, Pickrell used mouse models to study how mitochondrial dysfunction contributed to the selective degeneration of certain neuronal populations in the central nervous system. She completed her post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health.

Pickrell is one of 22 tenured and tenure-track faculty members to join the College of Science and the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience this year.

Written by Mari Botha, of Ashburn, Virginia, a junior double majoring in Economics and English.