News Release

American Epilepsy Society supports next generation researchers with early career funding

Grant and Award Announcement

American Epilepsy Society

CHICAGO, June 21, 2016 -- At a time when funding for medical researchers early in their careers is scarce, the American Epilepsy Society is leading the effort with other members of the epilepsy community to fund 19 early career fellowships and research grants. AES, one of the largest non-governmental funders for those starting their careers in epilepsy research, has partnered with the the Epilepsy Foundation, Wishes for Elliott: Advancing SCN8A Research, and the Dravet Syndrome Foundation to nurture the next generation of researchers. Together, these awards provide $790,000 for epilepsy research and research training.

"This funding builds a pipeline of innovative minds who will lead the future discoveries in epilepsy. Partnering with other like-minded organizations makes strategic sense and broadens the impact of these awards," AES President Michael Privitera, M.D., said.

AES and the Epilepsy Foundation have collaborated for many years to support early stage investigators, many of whom go on to successful independent careers in epilepsy research. For organizations like Wishes for Elliott and the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, both of which focus on rare and severe early onset epilepsies, this history of success provides an excellent opportunity to encourage more research on these complex and challenging diseases.

The fellowships support one year of mentored research training for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and clinical fellows, and the junior investigator research awards provide one year of research funding for early career scientists. The selected recipients are conducting basic, translational, and clinical research at academic institutions and medical schools throughout the U.S.

"This is a strong group of early career scientists, bringing new ideas to advance research in epilepsy" Manisha Patel, Ph.D., chair of the AES Research & Training Council, said.

The 2016 Early Career Research Fellowship and Grant recipients are:

AES Junior Investigator Research Award

Rafeed Alkawadri, M.D.
Real-Time and Passive Mapping of Brain Functions Based on Electrocorticograph
Yale University

Beth Lopour, Ph.D.
Data-driven Detection and Temporal Evolution of High Frequency Oscillations
University of California, Irvine

Amy Brewster, Ph.D.
The Role of C1q of the Classical Complement Pathway in Epileptogenesis
Purdue University

AES/EF Junior Investigator Research Award (supported by the Epilepsy Foundation)

Christine Baca M.D.
Understanding Pediatric to Adult Epilepsy Transition Care Gaps
University of California, Los Angeles

Kevin Murane, Ph.D.
A Nanotechnology Approach to Developing New Treatments for Epilepsy
Mercer University

AES Research and Training Fellowship for Clinicians

Juliet Knowles M.D., Ph.D.
Impact of Recurrent Seizures upon Myelin Structure and Plasticity
Stanford University
Mentors: Michelle Monje M.D., Ph.D., and John Huguenard, Ph.D.

AES/EF Research and Training Fellowship for Clinicians (supported by the Epilepsy Foundation)

Dario Englot, M.D., Ph.D.
Defining Subcortical-Cortical Connectivity Disturbances in Focal Epilepsy
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Mentors: Victoria Morgan, Ph.D., Bassel Abou-Khalil, M.D., and Peter Konrad M.D., Ph.D.

AES Predoctoral Research Fellowships

John Blair, MSc.
A Human Neuronal Model of Tuberous Sclerosis
University of California, Berkeley
Mentor: Helen Bateup, Ph.D.

Kamesh Krishnamurthy, B.S.
TrkB and Epileptogenesis
Duke University
Mentor: James McNamara, M.D.

Bryan Barker, B.A.
Role of T-Type Calcium Channels in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Mentor: Manoj Patel, Ph.D.

Meagan Siehr, B.S.
Mechanisms Underlying Pathology and Antiepileptogenic Therapy in a Model of ISSX
Baylor College of Medicine
Mentor: Jeff Noebels M.D., Ph.D.

AES Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Zane Lybrand, Ph.D.
Chemogenetic and Molecular Approaches to Probe Seizure-Induced New Neurons
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Mentor: Jenny Hsieh, Ph.D.

Candace Myers, Ph.D.
G-protein Signaling in Epileptic Encephalopathy
University of Washington
Mentor: Heather Mefford, M.D., Ph.D.

Megan Wyeth, Ph.D.
Inhibition of Interneurons in a Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Stanford University
Mentor: Paul Buckmaster, DVM, Ph.D.

Bin Gu, Ph.D.
Cell Type-specific Contributions of UBE3A Loss to Epilepsy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mentor: Ben Philpot, Ph.D.

Martial Dufour, Ph.D. (supported by LivaNova)
Exploring the Role of Adult Neurogenesis in Epilepsy
New York University School of Medicine
Mentors: Jayeeta Basu, Ph.D., and Helen Scharfman, Ph.D.

AES/Wishes for Elliott Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (supported by AES and Wishes for Elliott: Advancing SCN8A Research)

Andrew Tidball, Ph.D.
Mechanisms and Drug Discovery in SCN8A Patient iPSC-Derived Neurons
University of Michigan
Mentors: Jack Parent, M.D., and Lori Isom, Ph.D.

Christopher Makinson, Ph.D.
3D Human Culture Platform to Test SCN8A Epilepsy Mechanisms and Therapies
Stanford University
Mentors: John Huguenard, Ph.D., and Sergiu Pasca, M.D.

AES/DSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (supported by AES and the Dravet Syndrome Foundation)

Stefanie Makinson, Ph.D.
The Therapeutic Potential of the Thalamus in Dravet Syndrome
University of California, San Francisco
Mentors: Jeanne Paz, Ph.D., and Dan Lowenstein, M.D.


About the American Epilepsy Society

The American Epilepsy Society is a medical and scientific society whose members are engaged in research and clinical care for people with epilepsy. For more than 75 years, AES has provided a dynamic global forum where professionals from academia, private practice, not-for-profit, government and industry can learn, share and grow.

AES research fellowships and awards are funded by AES, the AES Lennox & Lombroso Fund, and LivaNova.

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