Dr. Helen Scharfman Receives the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award
Dr. Helen Scharfman is the recipient of a 2022 Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for her project titled “Mossy cells in temporal lobe epilepsy.” The Javits Award is a conditional, seven-year research grant given to scientists for their superior competence and outstanding productivity. Javits Awards provide long-term support to investigators with a history of exceptional talent, imagination, and preeminent scientific achievement.
Dr. Scharfman’s research focuses on neuronal excitability and plasticity, neuroendocrinology, and neurogenesis. She studies these basic mechanisms in the hippocampus with a special emphasis on their contribution to mechanisms underlying the development of epilepsy. She was the first to show the excitatory nature of mossy cells using electrophysiological recordings. Her project aims to examine the role of mossy cells during acute status epilepticus, the latent phase, and chronic spontaneous recurrent seizures, and in cognitive/emotional comorbidities in two animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy. This research could establish dual roles for mossy cells in acute and chronic phases of temporal lobe epilepsy and potentially give rise to new approaches for therapy development.