The year 2022 has been one “wild ride” for Alexandria Early Linton, PhD.

This was her final year of her PhD. She defended her thesis while 33 weeks pregnant with her first child, and she had her baby on the day of Awards Convocation when it was announced she won the inaugural Dr. Madhav and Dr. Radhika Devalaraja Outstanding Graduate Student Thesis Award.

The busy year will be capped with graduation on Friday, Dec. 16 (though she already walked in the spring ceremony knowing she would have a newborn this winter.)

“It was an adventure,” Dr. Linton said, adding she “could not sing higher praises” for her mentor Donna Wilcock, PhD, who supported her throughout the process.

Dr. Linton’s PhD was her third degree from the University of Kentucky. A Lexington, Ky., native and Henry Clay High School graduate, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in biology at UK, followed by a Master of Science in Medical Sciences from the UK College of Medicine under leadership of Kevin Hatton, MD, division chief of critical care medicine. Her PhD is in neuroscience.

“And now I’m a postdoc here, so clearly it gets in your blood,” she joked. “I’m very, very grateful for the support that I’ve received here and the diversity of education that I’ve received from every degree. Each stage was unique and blessed me with very distinct opportunities.”

Dr. Linton speaks highly of UK’s promotion of translational research, “solutions from the bench to the bedside and back,” to improve health care for Kentucky patients. She gained clinical knowledge through her work with Dr. Hatton, as well as basic science knowledge from her experience in the lab of Dr. Wilcock.

Throughout her training at UK, Dr. Linton mainly has studied cerebrovascular diseases. While earning her master’s degree, she studied inflammatory markers following cerebral aneurysm or subarachnoid hemorrhages. She developed a passion for neuroscience, specifically neuroimmunology, which led her to the lab of Dr. Wilcock.

“Donna’s lab is the best of the best with regards to this field,” Dr. Linton said. “It was a perfect marriage of some of my past work and where I want to go in the future with more neurodegenerative diseases.”

The well-rounded training will help Dr. Linton after graduation as she applies for jobs as a medical science liaison, what she calls a “bridge between clinicians and scientists.”