Inspired by these events, Alex developed his own interest in the brain as an undergraduate, though he originally had other plans for his career. “I had hopes of becoming a professional soccer player and played Division II soccer in college,” he says. “But then I tore my ACL and suffered a few other injuries.” Instead, Alex doubled down on his interest in the brain and proceeded to conduct research as a graduate student at Columbia University with the very doctors who treated his mother more than a decade earlier. It was during this time that he met Jonathan Shaffer, now an assistant professor at CU Denver, who eventually encouraged Alex to come to Denver as a PhD student in Clinical Health Psychology.
When Alex Presciutti was seven years old, his mother suffered a stroke – an event that proved pivotal for both mother and son while serving as a lesson in turning adversity into opportunity. Fortunately, Alex’s mother Mary, who was a neurological-intensive care unit nurse at the time, made a strong recovery and went on to conduct research on brain injuries, ultimately publishing some 20 papers on the subject.