Our researchers are a fierce driving force behind therapeutic development and future treatment. Let’s find out what makes them so passionate about KIF1A! Each month, one of our invested members of the KIF1A Research Network will be in the spotlight. One of the newest members of the Chung Lab team is next up to share a bit about herself!


Alexa Geltzeiler

Clinical and Research Genetic Counselor, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Alexa Geltzeiler is a clinical and research genetic counselor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She will be working with the KIF1A community to help make your research participation easier, more accessible, and more effective. She will also be involved in the organization of family meetings and the in-person natural history study.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I think I would like to ability to fly. I like the idea of seeing things from a new perspective.

When did you know you wanted to be a scientist? Why were you drawn to this field?

I’ve known that I wanted to work in genetics since I was 14 and started learning about Punnett squares! I was drawn to the way genetics tries to explain things that for so many years had no explanations. Specifically I was drawn to genetic counseling because I knew I wanted to work with families one-on-one.

What do you love most about your job?

I love finding families concrete answers. Beyond a diagnosis, I love connecting families with communities and resources.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The toughest part of my job is being patient. When I have a family without a diagnosis or with a rare diagnosis without much research behind it, I try to remind myself that genetic research is advancing every day.

What development are you most excited about in terms of KIF1A research?

I’m in awe of how fast the community is growing. As genetic testing becomes more feasible for more people, more diagnoses are being made than ever before.

I couldn’t get through a day at work without:

On an in-office day, coffee and headphones. On a work-from-home day, my cat by my side.

I am most motivated by:

Meeting the families who will benefit from my research. Beyond the behind the scenes work of lists and spreadsheets, meeting families face-to-face (or on Zoom these days) reminds me why we do what we do.

When you are not studying KIF1A, what do you do?

When I’m not working, I can be found watching baseball, reading at a coffee shop, or getting lost in Fort Tryon Park.