Professor Papalexandrou received his PhD from Princeton University focusing on the ritual dimensions of Early Greek figurative art. Prior to teaching at The University of Texas at Austin, he taught at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and spent the 2001–02 academic year as a research fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC. His first book, The Visual Poetics of Power: Warriors, Youths, and Tripods in Early Greece, was published in 2005.

In 2021 he published a book titled Bronze Monsters and the Cultures of Wonder: Griffin Cauldrons in the Preclassical Mediterranean (University of Texas Press). Focusing on the extraordinary visual and technical properties of the griffin cauldron, the book investigates how material and visual technologies of the visual originating in the Near East reinvigorated elite practices of social exclusion in various areas of the Mediterranean during the 7th century BCE.

Papalexandrou is currently researching Greek antiquities exchanged as diplomatic gifts between Greece and the USA after WWII; the publication of Early Iron Age bronze finds from the sanctuary of Itonia Athena in Thessaly, Greece; and the collecting practices of Greek Geometric Art after WWII. He is also working on the ritual (initiatory) dimensions of figurative bronzes from Cretan sanctuaries in the first millennium BCE.

Papalexandrou has held fellowships at the Center of Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (2015), National Gallery, Washington D.C. and at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens Greece (2017). In 2018 and 2019, he was a collaborator in “Material Entanglements in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond,” a research project funded by the Getty Foundation through its Connecting Art Histories initiative which meets in Athens under the auspices of Johns Hopkins University and the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens. In Spring 2023, he has been awarded a fellowship and he will be Margo Tytus Visiting Scholar at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

Papalexandrou offers undergraduate classes on various aspects of Greek Art and Archaeology (Myth in Images in Greek and Roman Antiquity; Art and Archaeology of Greek Sanctuaries; The Parthenon throughout the Ages; Visual Cultures of Cyprus, Crete, and Sicily). He also offers courses on the Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. His graduate seminars explore various themes regarding the Art and Culture of Early Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean (11-6 centuries BCE), and the Near East (Orientalizing Phenomenon; Art as a Means of Communication in Preliterate Societies; Visual Cultures of the Ancient Near East). In the 90s Papalexandrou excavated a large public building of Cypro-Archaic date (ca. late 6th c. BCE) at Polis tis Chysochou, Marion, Cyprus and he is now involved in the publication of this unique find.

He has published articles in scholarly journals such as Hesperia, American Journal of Archaeology, Hephaistos, and Journal of Modern Greek Studies.