Helmy is interested translational neuroscience, as well as how biology and sociology can be combined to better understand the pressing issues and challenges facing research efforts. After medical studies at Cairo University, Egypt, Helmy worked as a clinical neurophysiologist. He then joined the Master’s degree program in neuroscience at the University of Helsinki, Finland, where he received a prize for best degree of the year. His research focus was birth asphyxia, in which he combined in vivo molecular, electrophysiological, and behavioural methods to investigate mechanisms underlying post-asphyxia brain changes. He went on to attain his doctorate from the University of Helsinki, with part of the work carried out at the University of Maryland, USA, where he pioneered a method to measure in vivo intraneuronal pH. His work showed how functions of the blood-brain barrier can change from protective to detrimental under pathological conditions. Helmy is first author in articles published in Annals of Neurology, Brain, Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, and co-author in an article in EMBO, and has previously been awarded grants to travel to Rostock (Germany) and Florence (Italy) to present his work.