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Dr. Helen Scharfman Contributes to Neurogenesis Research

Dr. Helen Scharfman coauthored a new Science paper (Luna et al.) examining the role of adult neurogenesis in hippocampal brain circuitry. The authors found that adult-born neurons either inhibited or excited the dentate gyrus, depending on whether synaptic inputs originated from the lateral or the medial entorhinal cortex. The action of adult-born neurons depended on the demands of the environment, which alters cortical and subcortical input to the dentate gyrus. A Perspective article in the same issue provides additional context for the Luna et al. paper.

Link to main article:

Luna VM, Anacker C, Burghardt NS, Khandaker H, Andreu V, Millette A, Leary P, Ravenelle R, Jimenez JC, Mastrodonato A, Denny CA, Fenton AA, Scharfman HE, Hen R. Adult-born hippocampal neurons bidirectionally modulate entorhinal inputs into the dentate gyrus. Science. 2019 May 10;364(6440):578-583.

Link to commentary:

Llorens-Martín M. Adult-born neurons in brain circuitry. Science. 2019 May 10;364(6440):530.

Dr. Efrat Levy Promoted to Full Professor

Efrat Levy, Ph.D., a Research Scientist in the Center for Dementia Research, has been promoted to the rank of Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology at the New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Levy’s laboratory studies the factors that initiate and propagate pathology in neurodegenerative disorders. She is currently the principal or co-principal investigator on five active NIH grants.

Funding Update - December, 2018


  • Dr. Robert Sears (Emotional Brain Institute) received a NARSAD Young Investigator award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation for a grant titled “The Orexin System as a Master Modulator of Proactive Coping Behavior.”
  • Dr. Ralph Nixon (Center for Dementia Research) received a grant from the CHDI Foundation titled “In Vivo Evaluation and Therapeutic Modulation of Neuronal Autophagy Flux in HD Mouse Models: Validation of a Transgenic Reporter for In Vivo Neuronal Macroautophagy.”

NKI Researchers Remain Highly Cited

As they did last year, two NKI investigators appear on the 2018 Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers. F. Xavier Castellanos, MD, and Michael Milham, MD, PhD, are both recognized for their contributions in the field of Neuroscience & Behavior. Designation as a Highly Cited Researcher indicates authorship of multiple papers ranking in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science.

Dr. Castellanos has been a Research Psychiatrist at NKI since 2006. He is also an endowed Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Milham is the Director of NKI’s Center for Biomedical Imaging and Neuromodulation. He also directs research programs at the Child Mind Institute.