About Us > Faculty and Staff > Voluntary Faculty

Helen E. Scharfman, PhD

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychiatry, and Physiology and Neuroscience; Research Scientist, Center for Dementia Research, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
Helen E. Scharfman, PhD

Specialty Area(s): Neuroscience.

Dr. Helen Scharfman completed her doctorial training in the Department of Pharmacology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland and her postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. She was then a Research Associate in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the State University of Stony Brook before starting her own laboratory at Helen Hayes Hospital and Columbia University in 1991.

Dr. Scharfman’s primary research interests include the mechanisms underlying neuronal excitability and neuronal plasticity, neuroendocrinology/gender differences, and neurogenesis. The emphasis of the laboratory is to understand the basic mechanisms of normal function in order in order to better address dysfunction, i.e., in neurological disorders and psychiatric illness.  An area of long-standing interest has been hippocampus and adjacent brain regions, so there has been an emphasis on learning disorders, as well as epilepsy.

Dr. Scharfman has contributed broadly in basic and translational neuroscience.  She has served on numerous Advisory Boards for national and international organizations, such as the American Epilepsy Society, the Epilepsy Foundation, Citizens United For Research on Epilepsy, Parents Against Childhood Epilepsy, and served as a reviewer for NIH, NSF, and many international funding organizations. She has served on editorial boards of Epilepsia, Epilepsy Research, is currently on the editorial board of Epilepsy and Behavior, Open Access Endocrinology, Frontiers Neurogenesis, Brain Structure & Function, and Epilespy Research & Treatments, and reviews ad hoc for over 40 neuroscience journals.  She was named the New York State Department of Health Employee of the Year in 2005 for establishing a research center at Helen Hayes Hospital to promote translational research.  She has published extensively, including four books.  She has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since starting her own laboratory.