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Ben Rein, PhD is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Robert Malenka's lab at Stanford University and a science communicator on social media. 


In his current research, Ben is exploring the neural basis of empathy and mechanisms by which empathic behaviors can be enhanced. He received his PhD in neuroscience from SUNY Buffalo, earning the Dean's Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research. Ben's thesis research focused on autism spectrum disorder and identified key systems in the brain that regulate social behavior. To view all research papers, please visit the Research page.

Outside of the lab, Ben creates educational science videos for an audience of more than 900,000 followers on TikTok, Instagram and BiliBili. In his videos, he summarizes recent research papers, teaches fundamental science principles, and debunks "viral" videos containing scientific misinformation. Ben's science communication has been recognized with awards from Stanford University, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) the Mind Science Foundation, and Vlogbrothers. To learn more, please visit the Science Communication​ page.


Ben also offers career tips for students through a video series called "Scientips" and leads the Aspiring Scientists Coalition, a virtual organization providing free guidance for students in over 75 countries. If you are a student, please consider taking advantage of these free Resources! 



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

Harnessing Social Media to Challenge Scientific Misinformation

16p11.2 Copy Number Variations and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Reversal of synaptic and behavioral deficits in a 16p11.2 duplication mouse model via restoration of the GABA synapse regulator Npas4.




Rein B, Tan T, Yang F, Wang W, Williams J, Zhang F, Mills A, Yan Z. (2020)

Rein B, Yan Z (2020).

Rein B (2022).

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        Ben believes that science should be more clear and accessible to the public. To accomplish this, he creates educational videos on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and BiliBili. He has amassed more than 900,000 followers across his 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 in 2020 after a video he posted on TikTok unexpectedly went viral. 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 for his postdoctoral studies. This unique funding opportunity with a science communication component challenges scientists to clearly articulate their research proposal to a lay audience. In 2022, Ben was recognized by Stanford University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for using social media to promote public engagement with science.

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TikTok has discovered the “Jennifer Aniston Neuron” — a single brain cell that’s “activated” by photos of the actress — and it has ignited a viral moment for the surprisingly complex concept.


"If we were only using 10% of our brain, we'd basically be zombies."


Ben Rein is a neuroscience student from University at Buffalo spreading educational science videos through TikTok. “I had no intention to make videos on TikTok at any point,” Rein said...

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Neuroscientist Ben Rein breaks down how color blindness works, something he is personally affected by.


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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