Dr Laith Alexander

Laith Alexander

University position

Academic Foundation Doctor


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Research Theme

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


My research focuses on the neurobiology of emotion and emotional regulation. In particular, I am interested in how prefrontal cortical regions (area 25 and 32) subserve the regulation of emotional states. Using sophisticated techniques in behavioural psychology, neuropharmacology and cardiovascular monitoring I am attempting to understand how dysfunctions in these regions contribute to the core aspects of Major Depressive Disorder: enhanced 'negative' emotion (low mood and anxiety) and reduced 'positive' emotion (anhedonia).

Research Focus


prefrontal cortex





Clinical conditions

Anxiety disorders

Depressive disorders


Behavioural analysis

Cardiovascular monitoring

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)


Neuropsychological testing

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)



Hannah Clarke

Angela Roberts

Associated News Items

Key publications

Alexander L, Wood CM, Gaskin PLR, Sawiak SJ, Fryer TD, Hong YT, McIver L, Clarke HF, Roberts AC (2020), “Over-activation of primate subgenual cingulate cortex enhances the cardiovascular, behavioral and neural responses to threat” Nat Commun 5386

Alexander L, Gaskin PLR, Sawiak SJ, Fryer TD, Hong YT, Cockcroft GJ, Clarke HF, Roberts AC (2019), “Fractionating Blunted Reward Processing Characteristic of Anhedonia by Over-Activating Primate Subgenual Anterior Cingulate Cortex” Neuron 101(2): 307-320



Stawicka ZM, Massoudi R, Horst NK, Koda K, Gaskin PLR, Alexander L, Santangelo AM, McIver L, Cockcroft GJ, Wood CM, Roberts AC (2020), “Ventromedial prefrontal area 14 provides opposing regulation of threat and reward-elicited responses in the common marmoset” PNAS


Alexander L, Clarke HF, Roberts AC (2019), “A Focus on the Functions of Area 25” Brain Sci

Zeredo JL, Quah SKL, Wallis CU, Alexander L, Cockcroft GJ, Santangelo AM, Xia J, Shiba Y, Dalley JW, Cardinal RN, Roberts AC, Clarke HF (2019), “Glutamate within the marmoset anterior hippocampus interacts with area 25 to regulate the behavioral and cardiovascular correlates of high-trait anxiety” J Neurosci


Wallis CU, Cardinal RN, Alexander L, Roberts AC, Clarke HF (2017), “Opposing roles of primate areas 25 and 32 and their putative rodent homologs in the regulation of negative emotion” PNAS