Helen Scharfman, Ph.D.
Helen Scharfman, Ph.D., received her B.A. from Vassar College in biopsychology and her Ph.D. from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in pharmacology. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of neurological surgery at the University of Washington and then became a research associate in the department of neurobiology and behavior at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She began her own laboratory in 1990 at the Helen Hayes Hospital and Columbia University. She was director of the Center for Neural Recovery and Rehabilitation Research at Helen Hayes Hospital until 2007, when she moved to The Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and New York University Langone Medical Center. Her current position is senior research scientist and professor of child and adolescent psychiatry, psychiatry and physiology & neuroscience. Her research has focused on mechanisms controlling neuronal excitability and plasticity and their implications for diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and women’s health. She has authored over 100 publications and edited five books in the field of neuroscience.
Seizing an OpportunityBroader Definitions of Epilepsy May Lead to Better Treatments
There is not just one type of epilepsy. While some forms of the disease are characterized by convulsive seizures, others involve seizures that are barely noticeable. Normal variations in hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, can influence brain activity and therefore influence seizures. By considering the powerful interactions between the brain and the endocrine system, this influence of hormones on seizures can be understood and new treatment options can be considered.