Alexander HelfandAlexander Helfand

Research Interests

I am interested in the neurological systems which control behavior, especially motivated behaviors and in particular the processes which mediate decision making, addiction, stress, and depression.


BA, 2012, Boston University
Major: Psychology

MS, 2014, Boston University
Medical Science

Research Experiences

Medical College of Wisconsin (2014-Present)
Advisor: Cecilia Hillard, PhD
Project: The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Incentive Salience of Novel Stimuli

Johns Hopkins University/Boston University , 2013-2014
Advisor: Simon Levy, PhD (Boston University); Una McCann, MD (Johns Hopkins); George Ricaurte, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins)
Project: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA): Pharmacology, Toxicology, Usage Patterns, and Neurological Effects in Humans

Boston University, 2011-2012
Advisor: Brett DiBenedictis, PhD; Michael Baum, PhD; James Cherry, PhD
Project: Olfactory Hedonics: Differential Projections and Functionality of the Posterior and Anterior Medial Amygdala in Swiss-Webster Mice


DiBenedictis BT, Helfand AI, Baum MJ, Cherry JA. A quantitative comparison of the efferent projections of the anterior and posterior subdivisions of the medial amygdala in female mice. Brain Research. 2014;1543:101-108. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2013.10.046.

Meeting Abstracts

Brett DiBenedictis, Alexander Helfand, James Cherry PhD, Michael Baum PhD. Differential Projections of the Ant. & Post. Medial Amygdala; Poster presentation at 34th Annual Meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, Huntington Beach, California. April, 2012.

Yihan Li, Alexander Helfand, Una McCann MD, George Ricaurte MD PhD. Sleep Architecture and Respiratory Disturbances in Abstinent Methamphetamine Users; Poster presentation at 8th Annual Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Research Symposium, Baltimore, Maryland. December, 2013.

Alexander Helfand, Christopher Olsen PhD, Cecilia Hillard PhD. The Effects of Cannabinoid Receptor-1 Knockout on Novel Sensation Seeking Behavior in Mice; Poster presentation at MCW Medical Student Research Symposium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. October, 2015.


Technology, cloud computing & networking, and politics



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