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Ben Rein, PhD is a neuroscientist and science communicator.


Ben's research focuses on the neurobiology of social interactions. He has published 19 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals uncovering information about the neuroscience of empathy, the genetic basis of autism spectrum disorder, and how connections between brain cells regulate social behaviors.


While working at Stanford University, Ben led a project characterizing how MDMA acts in the brain to enhance empathy. Ben's research has received honors from the NIH, the Society for Neuroscience, and Sigma Xi. To view all research papers, please visit the Research page.

Outside of the lab, Ben creates educational science videos for an audience of over 1 million followers on social media. His videos provide summaries of recent research papers, teach neuroscience basics, and debunk viral videos containing misinformation. They have collectively received over 60 million views and been featured on Good Morning America, ABC News, and other major media outlets.


Ben has been profiled by Popular Mechanics and Spectrum News, appeared on Entertainment Tonight, and joined over 40 podcasts as a guest including StarTalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He has received honors for his science communication from the National Academies of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Neuroscience, and Stanford University. To learn more, please visit the Science Communication​ page.


Ben currently serves as the Chief Science Officer of the Mind Science Foundation. He has provided scientific advising/consulting for more than 35 companies and foundations. He is also a contributing editor at OpenMind Magazine, and the Founder & President of the Aspiring Scientists Coalition, a virtual organization providing free guidance for students in over 75 countries. 



Please visit the publications page for a complete list of papers.

MDMA Enhances Empathy-Like Behaviors in Mice via 5-HT Release in the Nucleus Accumbens




Rein B, Raymond K, Boustani C, Tuy S, Zhang J, St. Laurent R, Pomrenze MP, Boroon P, Heifets B, Smith ML, Malenka RC. (2024)

Rein B (2023).

Rein B (2022).

Making Science Education

More Accessible: A Case Study 

of TikTok's Utility as a Science

Communication Tool

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        Ben believes that science should be more clear and accessible to the public. To support this goal, he creates and posts educational videos on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and BiliBili. He has gained more than 900,000 followers across these social media accounts, and his videos have been featured in New York Post, Good Morning America, and ABC News. 

        Ben began using social media for science communication after he unexpectedly went viral on TikTok in 2020. He quickly discovered that social media platforms can be powerful vehicles for reaching the public, and he found joy in providing free, accessible, and evidence-based education to social media users worldwide.


        In 2021, Ben took first place in the "BrainStorm Neuroscience Pitch Competition" held by the Mind Science Foundation, securing $30,000 in research funds. This unique funding opportunity with a science communication component challenges scientists to clearly articulate their research proposal to a lay audience. In 2022, Ben appeared on Entertainment Tonight, was profiled by Popular Mechanics, and was recognized by Stanford University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his use of social media to promote public engagement with science.

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For speaking engagements etc., please contact using the form below.
Thank you for your interest! 

Website photography by Elena Zhukova

Website photography by Elena Zhukova. 

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