Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Santosh Helekar, M.D., Ph.D.

Santosh A. Helekar, M.D., Ph.D.

Santosh A. Helekar, M.D., Ph.D.

Santosh A. Helekar, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Member
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute
Director, Songbird Neurophysiology Laboratory
Speech and Language Center
Methodist Neurological Institute
The Methodist Hospital

E-mail: sahelekar@tmhs.edu
Office Phone: 713-441-4389
Lab Phone: 713-441-4804


M.B.B.S.   University of Bombay, India (Medicine and Surgery)
Ph.D.   Baylor College of Medicine (Neuroscience)

Postdoctoral Training

Rotating Internship, Goa Medical College Hospitals, Goa, India

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Molecular Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas



Dr. Santosh A. Helekar earned his medical degree (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) from the University of Bombay in 1982. He earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Baylor College of Medicine. He held faculty appointments in the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Neurology at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute and Weill Medical College of Cornell University before rejoining as an associate member of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in 2007. Dr. Helekar also holds adjunct faculty appointments in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and the Department of Biology at Texas A & M University. As a member of the Research Institute Neurosciences Research Program, he directs the Songbird Neurophysiology Laboratory in the Speech and Language Center of the Department of Neurology to study songbird models of stuttering and other speech problems. He also collaborates with other members of the Research Institute on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of neurological conditions. Dr. Helekar has been a member of the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and Alzheimer's Association grant review boards. He has also been a reviewer for several international research foundations and scientific journals in his field. He serves on the editorial board of The Open Zoology Journal.

Description of Research

Dr. Helekar's research program focuses on developing and studying songbird models of speech disorders and developmental learning disabilities, how the brain encodes vocal sounds, and the neural basis of vocal learning and plasticity. His current experiments involve brain functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging and local field potential recordings, and long-term computerized monitoring of birdsong learning and proteomics of sensorimotor brain structures. He is also interested in quantitative analysis of functional brain networks to study how conscious behavior is orchestrated by the brain, and how these networks might be altered in patients with cognitive deficits.

Major Areas of Research

Vocal learning, speech and language disorders, fMRI, conscious perception, neurophysiology

Recent Publications

Voss HU, Salgado-Commissariat D, Helekar SA. Altered auditory BOLD response to conspecific birdsong in zebra finches with stuttered syllables. PLoS One. 2010;5(12):e14415.

Helekar SA, Shin J, Mattson BJ, Bartley K, Stosic M, Saldana-King T, Montague R, Hutton GJ. Functional brain network changes associated with maintenance of cognitive function in multiple sclerosis. Front Hum Neurosci. 2010;4:219. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00219

Maul KK, Voss HU, Parra LC, Salgado-Commissariat D, Ballon D, Tchernichovski O, Helekar SA. The development of stimulus-specific auditory responses requires song exposure in male but not female zebra finches. Dev Neurobiol. 2010;70(1):28-40.

Benjamin A, Kashem M, Cohen C, Caldwell-Busby JA, Salgado-Commissariat D, Helekar SA, Bhattacharya SK. Proteomics of the nucleus ovoidalis and field L brain regions of zebra finch. J Proteome Res. 2008;7(5):2121-32.

Voss HU, Tabelow K, Polzehl J, Tchernichovski O, Maul K K, Salgado-Commissariat D, Ballon D, Helekar SA. Functional MRI suggests a lateralized topography of responses to song stimulation in the zebra finch brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007;104(25):10667-72.


Dr. Helekar's Physician Profile