About Me


Before returning to graduate school, I accrued nearly 10 years of experience in biotech and drug development working experimentally with mice and rats. I am now a PhD candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY under Drs. Alexander Cartwright and Qiaoqiang Gan. My research is currently focused on ultrafast optical responses of plasmonic structures, and trying to measure those responses electronically for applications in detection and biosensing. As a current UB Presidential Fellow and Dean's Fellow, I am on track to complete my PhD in Spring 2018. After graduation, my goal is find gainful employment in the industrial sector.


I play and compose Irish and Scottish traditional music, and I do it on Highland bagpipes, Scottish smallpipes, Irish Uilleann ('Ill-in') pipes, various whistles, and the English concertina. If it's a wind instrument, I can usually sort it out pretty quickly. From competitive piping, to playing with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, to blowing off steam in informal seisiúns with friends, traditional music has really become my outlet.

Contact Details

Alec Cheney
University at Buffalo
230U Davis Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-2500

(716) 289-2719


University at Buffalo

PhD Candidate, Electrical Engineering 2016 - Present

Ultrafast spectroscopy of plasmonic and photonic devices with electronic readout for plasmonic bioimaging applications

Master of Science, Electrical Engineering 2016

Plasmonic and photonic devices for energy harvesting and biological sensing applications

Bachelor of Science, Physics (major) and Mathematics (minor) 2014

Magna Cum Laude

The University of Queensland

Bachelor of Science, Zoology and Wildlife Biology (double major) 2005

Undergraduate thesis: Effects of freshwater acidification on the swimming behaviour of Rhadinocentrus ornatus


University at Buffalo Presidential Fellowship 2014 - Present

Department of Electrical Engineering Dean’s Fellowship 2014 - Present

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (Honorable Mention) 2014 & 2015

ΣΠΣ National Physics Honor Society (Founder of UB chapter and President) 2011

Golden Key International Honour Society 2010


University at Buffalo

Teaching Assistant, Department of Electrical Engineering 2014 - Present

Assisting in undergraduate course administration and teaching of basic circuits laboratory, signals and systems courses, and amplifier courses

Cleveland BioLabs, Inc.

Co-Director of Animal Studies Department 2010 - 2014

Senior Research Associate 2007 - 2010

Organized and conducted experiments with mice and rats; helped automate acquisition of data; designed experimental schedules and databases; designed and constructed necessary experimental equipment; performed techniques including survival surgeries, total/partial body irradiation, tumor cell inoculation, drug injections; managed breeding colonies; trained new employees on laboratory safety and various experimental techniques


  • Ultrafast Spectroscopy
  • Python Data Analysis
  • Teaching