Professor Dr. rer. nat. habil. Nina Alexander

Prof. Dr. habil. Nina Alexander

Professor Dr. rer. nat. habil. Nina Alexander
Professor for Differential and Personality Psychology 

Am Kaiserkai 1
20457 Hamburg

Fon: 040.361 226 49317
Fax: 040.361 226 430
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Biography

Nina Alexander studied psychology (with minor medicine) at the Justus-Liebig University of Gießen. Following the completion of her degree, she received a scholarship to undertake doctoral studies in the postgraduate programme “Neuronal Representation and Action Control” (German Research Foundation, DFG). She worked as academic staff in the working group Differential Psychology and Personality Research at the Justus-Liebig University of Gießen (Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Hennig). Following the completion of her doctoral work (Dr. rer. nat.) at the Faculty of Natural Sciences with the thesis titled „Molekulargenetische und umweltbedingte Determinanten endokriner Stressreaktivität“ (equiv. “Molecular genetic and environmental determinants of the endocrine stress response”), she worked as academic assistant in the working group for Biopsychology at the Technical University of Dresden  (Prof. Dr. Clemens Kirschbaum). During this time, she led research projects on the importance of genetics, environmental influences and epigenetic processes for the development of inter-individual differences in neuronal and hormonal stress sensitivity. In 2016, she completed her Habilitation (equiv. post-doc dissertation) at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Technical University of Dresden (Venia legendi für Psychologie). During this time, she also held roles as visiting professor at Emory University, Atlanta, USA (Prof. Dr. Charles Nemeroff, Prof. Dr. Dr. Elisabeth Binder), Stony Brook University, New York, USA (Prof. Dr. Turhan Canli) and at the  Northwestern University, Evanston, USA (Prof. Dr. Claudia Haase). Since October 2016, she manages the working group on Differential and Personality Psychology at MSH Medical School Hamburg where she has previously acted as visiting professor.

Teaching

From 2007-2010, Nina Alexander taught as academic staff in the working group of Differential and Personality Psychology at the Justus-Liebig University of Gießen. From 2010-2015 she lectured in the working group of Biopsychology at the Technical University of Dresden. Her teaching encompasses the broad range of teaching styles and relates to different study modules with their particular requirements. She was awarded for excellent teaching with the Karl- and Charlotte-Bühler award of the Psychology Department by the Technical University of Dresden.  During her time as academic assistant, she also supervised a number of theses (bachelor, master, PhD) in the field of differential and biological psychology. At MSH Medical School Hamburg she teaches in the area of differential and personality psychology since October 2015.

Research Focus

Research focus is the investigation into biological foundations of inter-individual differences in human behavior, perfection and feeling of self. Key of her research is the role of genetics, environmental influences and epigenetic processes for the development of individual differences in the biological stress sensitivity. Nina Alexander‘s research aims to uncover possible pathways for systematic approaches on which genetics and the environment influence the development of stress-induced personality features and psychological disorders.

Key objective is herein the identification of a biologically informed risk personality, based on epi-genetic, hormonal and neuronal markers. Based on this foundational work, she hopes to create approaches for the development of individualized interventions.

DFG Projects

Long-term effects of a prenatal therapy with synthetic glucocorticoids on the psychosocial stress reactivity and volitional control in childhood and adolescence (2015-2018).

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Nina Alexander, Prof. Dr. Shu-Chen Li, Prof. Dr. Clemens Kirschbaum

This research projects intends to develop a better understanding of hormonal and neural/cognitive adaptations based on a sGK therapy and is of high clinical relevance due to the widespread application of the sGK therapy (7-10% of pregnant women in Europe and North America).

Gen-Environmental interaction in the context of stress hormonal regulation: the importance of epigenetic processes (2012-2014)

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Nina Alexander

This project investigates in the epigenetic adaptation processes of meaningful predictors for endocrine stress system activity and sub-clinical depression.

Publications

External grants

03/2012:

  • Funded by DFG (German Research Foundation): Gen-Umwelt Interaktion im Kontext der Stresshormonregulation: Die Bedeutung epigenetischer Prozesse [AL 1484/], sole investigator

06/2016:

  • Funded by DFG (German Research Foundation): Langzeiteffekte einer pränatalen Therapie mit synthetischen Glukokortikoiden auf die psychosoziale Stressreaktivität und volitionale Kontrolle in Kindheit und Jugendalter [AL 1484/5-1], Principal investigator, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Clemens Kirschbaum und Prof. Dr. Shu-Chen Li

Ad-hoc review activities for academic journals

  • Molecular Psychiatry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychoneuroendocrinology
  • Neuropsychobiology
  • Journal of Psychiatric Research
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Journal of Traumatic Stress
  • PLOS ONE
  • Journal of Neuroscience
  • Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
  • American Journal of Human Biology
  • Physiology and Behavior
  • Psychological Reports
  • Perceptual & Motor Skills
  • Journal of Individual Differences
  • Stress
  • European Journal of Endocrinology
  • Journal of Affective Disorders
  • American Journal of Human Biology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Child Development
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Journal of Obesity
  • Psychological Medicine

Review activities for external grant providers

  • German Research Foundation ((Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG))
  • Fonds for the promotion of scientific research (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF))

Nina Alexander´s Google Scholar Profile

Nina Alexander´s Research Gate Profile

  • German