Alexandra Moussa-Tooks, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Division of Psychology
Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital
1601 23rd Avenue South

Dr. Alexandra Moussa-Tooks is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at VUMC. She received a dual PhD in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience from Indiana University Bloomington (2021) and completed her pre-doctoral internship (2021) and postdoctoral fellowship (2022) in Psychotic Disorders at the VUMC Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Moussa-Tooks specializes in individual psychotherapy for individuals with psychosis, using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBTp) and Metacognitive approaches. She also serves as a member of the NAVIGATE first episode team, which offers coordinated specialty care to individuals within the first two years of a psychotic disorder. For more information on services, visit 

Other areas of interest for Dr. Moussa-Tooks include treating sleep disorders like insomnia with behavioral and cognitive approaches (CBT for insomnia), inpatient assessment and brief interventions, and culturally-informed adaptations to existing psychotherapy interventions.

Research Information

Dr. Moussa-Tooks’ research program is focused on identifying cognitive mechanisms of psychotic experiences through behavioral, self-report, and neuroimaging approaches. Her work to date has focused on neural contributions of the cerebellum to cognitive deficits observed in psychotic disorders and associated risk factors for abnormal cerebellar development, including early life insults and endogenous cannabinoid dysregulation. 

Dr. Moussa-Tooks is currently building a research program aimed at understanding how cerebellar processes, namely psychomotor functions like motor learning, contribute to disorganized behavior in psychosis. She hopes to translate her research into effective treatments and optimized assessment tools for disorganized behavior.

Representative Publications

* indicates mentee

Clarifying the Role of the Cerebellum in Psychosis

Moussa-Tooks, A., Huang, A., Rogers, B., Sheffield, J., Heckers, S., & Woodward, N. Cognitive Ability and Cerebellar Volume in Psychosis. Biological Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.03.013; PMID:

Moussa-Tooks, A., Kim, D., *Bartolomeo, L., Purcell, J., Bolbecker, A., Newman, S., O’Donnell, B., & Hetrick, W. (2019) Impaired effective connectivity in schizophrenia during continuation of cerebellar-mediated sensorimotor synchronization. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 45(3), 531-541. doi:10.1093/schbul/sby064; PMID: 29800417

Moussa-Tooks, A., Hetrick, W., Green, J.  (2020) Differential Effects of Two Early Life Stress Paradigms on Cerebellar-Dependent Delay Eyeblink Conditioning. Neurobiology of Stress, 13. doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2020.100242; PMID: 33344698

Moussa-Tooks, A., *Larson, E., *Gimeno, A., Leishman, E., *Bartolomeo, L., Bradshaw, H., O’Donnell, B., Mackie, K., Hetrick, W. (2020) Long-Term Aberrations to Cerebellar Endocannabinoids Induced by Early Life Stress. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-64075-4; PMID: 32350298

Assessment and Modulation of Psychomotor and Motor Integration Processes

Lundin, N., Kim, D. J., Tullar, R., Moussa-Tooks, A., Kent, J., Newman, S., Purcell, J., Bolbecker, A., O’Donnell, B., Hetrick W. Cerebellar Activation Deficits During Delay Eyeblink Conditioning in Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin Open, 2(1). doi:10.1093/schizbullopen/sgab040; PMID: 34541537

*Mitroi, J., *Burroughs, L., Moussa-Tooks, A., Bolbecker, A., Lundin, N., O’Donnell, B., & Hetrick, W. (2020) Dose and Polarity Independent Modulation of Cerebellar Timing Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. The Cerebellum. doi:10.1007/s12311-020-01114-w; PMID: 32036562

Kim, D. J., Moussa-Tooks, A., Bolbecker, A., Apthorp, D., Newman, S., O’Donnell, B., Hetrick W. (2020) Cerebellar-Cortical Dysconnectivity in Resting-State Associated with Sensorimotor Tasks in Schizophrenia. Human Brain Mapping. doi:10.1002/hbm.25002; PMID: 32250008

Assessment and Constructs 

Moussa-Tooks, A., Bailey, A., Bolbecker, A., Viken, R., O’Donnell, B., & Hetrick, W. (2020) Bifactor Structure of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire Across the Schizotypy Spectrum. Journal of Personality Disorders, 34, 466-491. doi:10.1521/pedi_2020_34_466; PMID: 32039649

Wolny, J., Moussa-Tooks, A., Bailey, A., & Hetrick, W. Race and Self-Reported Paranoia: Increased Item Endorsement on Subscales of the SPQ. Schizophrenia Research: Psychotic Disorders and Race (Special Issue). doi:10.1016/j.schres.2021.11.034; PMID: 34895794

Bailey, A., Moussa-Tooks, A., Klein, S., Sponheim, S., & Hetrick, W. (2021) The Sensory Gating Inventory-Brief. Schizophrenia Bulletin Open, 2(1). doi:10.1093/schizbullopen/sgab019; PMID: 34414372

*Chen, J., Purcell, J., Moussa-Tooks, A., & Hetrick. W. (2020) Psychometric Evaluation of the Pinocchio Illusion Questionnaire. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. doi:10.3758/s13414-020-02011-4; PMID: 32185641