Aixa Alfonso, Ph.D.
Aixa Alfonso is a native of Puerto Rico. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a PhD in 1986. She began training in the genetics of neuronal fate and function that same year and has been working with the round worm C. elegans as an animal model system since. She joined the department of Biological Sciences at UIC in 1996 where she holds the rank of Associate Professor. Her current research efforts aim to understand the role of a specific protein, a transcription factor, in the development and differentiation of nerve cells that control sex-specific behaviors. She is a recipient of a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research. She also served as the PI and co-Director of an NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates Site for eight years. She is committed to increasing the numbers of underrepresented students that partake in research experiences, and has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students throughout her professional career. Her involvement with student research and training includes serving as Director of Graduate Studies in Biological Sciences, participating in national fellowship programs sponsored by the National Research Council, the Ford Foundation, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program; and the Sigma Xi Graduate Student Research Forum at UIC. She served the scientific community in the capacity of Program Director in the Division of Integrated Organismal Systems in the Biology Directorate at NSF between 2007 and 2009 and as a Visiting Associate Dean of the Graduate College for 2.5 years after returning to UIC. She is currently involved in the Diversity Student Committee in the college of Liberal Arts and Sciences.