Helen Scharfman, PhD

Helen Scharfman, PhD

Research Scientist
Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research Scharfman Lab Page
Professor in the Departments of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Physiology & Neuroscience and Psychiatry 
NYU Langone Medical Center Scharfman NYU Page

P: (845)398-5427 (office)
P: (845)398-5437 (lab)
F: (845)398-5422


Click for publications


BA (Biopsychology), Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
PhD (Pharmacology), Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Postdoctoral Training
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, lab of Dr. Philip Schwartzkroin
Postdoctoral Fellow, lab of Dr. Paul Adams

Awards and Honors

1991 Phi Beta Kappa, Gen. Honors, Dept. Honors, Rose Fellowship in Biology, Vassar College
1992 NIH FIRST Grant awardee; Epilepsy Foundation Research Grant awardee
1997 Grass lecturer
2004 CURE Scientific Advisory Board
2005 Commissioner’s Recognition Award, NYS Department of Health
2005 Employee of the Year, NYS Department of Health
2006 International League Against Epilepsy, Faculty of 1000
2008 PACE Scientific Advisory Board
2010 NYSTEM IDEA award (with Dr. Rene Hen)

Research Interests

Neuronal excitability and its role in disorders of the nervous system
Research topics:
Mechanisms of neuronal excitability and plasticity
Regulation of network activity at micro and macro scales
Neurotrophins and other peptide regulators
Structural plasticity (axonal sprouting; neurogenesis)
Synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation, depression)

Hippocampus; dentate gyrus; entorhinal cortex; “limbic” circuits
Learning, memory, and social behavior
Selective vulnerability of hilar neurons, entorhinal neurons

Dysfunction in ‘complex’ disorders and how to better treat them
Aging and Alzheimer’s disease
Traumatic injury
Translational neuroscience

Neuroendocrinology; sex differences
Estrogen, androgen
Steroid hormones action via trophic or growth factors

Current research “streams”:
Neurotrophins - brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)

                        Estrogen and androgen actions mediated by BDNF

Neurogenesis in the postnatal dentate gyrus

                        Why does the dentate gyrus need new neurons throughout life?