Public Release: 

Washington, D.C., researcher receives $130,000 for pediatric epilepsy research

American Academy of Neurology

WASHINGTON, DC - A Washington, DC, researcher will receive $130,000 to continue her investigation into Mapping Memory in Pediatric Epilepsy through the Susan S. Spencer Clinical Research Training Fellowship in Epilepsy, cosponsored by the American Brain Foundation, the American Epilepsy Society, and the Epilepsy Foundation. The award was presented in Washington, DC, during the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting, the world's largest meeting of neurologists.

Leigh N. Sepeta, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Children's National Health System in Washington, DC, received the award for her research into temporal lobe epilepsy, which is associated with impairment in memory processing. Sepeta's work is uncovering important insights about memory development and its neural underpinnings to determine how memory is altered in temporal lobe epilepsy.

"Epilepsy affects 2.2 million people in the United States, and temporal lobe epilepsy is one of the most common types of focal epilepsies," said Sepeta. "This research will influence the care of patients by establishing a standard way to use imaging scans to evaluate patients' memory functioning before they have surgery and by investigating the developing memory system."

Epilepsy is a common neurologic disorder that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain function that cause changes in attention or behavior. Epilepsy is a family of more than 40 syndromes.

The two-year award will consist of an annual salary of $55,000 plus $10,000 per year for tuition to support formal education in clinical research methodology. Clinical research is the fundamental transition stage between discovery and treatment and provides the scientific basis for all forms of care, addresses patient and caregiver needs and is the backbone for drug development and cost-effectiveness studies needed to improve lives. Fellowships provide recipients with up to two years of "protected time," with salary that allows them to continue important research projects. The award is named in honor of Susan S. Spencer, MD, a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology who was a leading epilepsy researcher.

Added Sepeta, "I am honored to receive this award, which was made possible through the guidance of my mentors, William Gaillard, MD, and Madison Berl, PhD."


Learn more about epilepsy at

About the American Brain Foundation

The American Brain Foundation, founded by the American Academy of Neurology, supports crucial research and education to discover causes, improved treatments, and cures for brain and other nervous system diseases. Learn more at or find the Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

About the American Epilepsy Society

The American Epilepsy Society is a medical and scientific society whose members are professionals from private practice, academia and government engaged in both research and clinical care for people with epilepsy. For more than 75 years, AES has been unlocking the potential of the clinical and research community by creating a dynamic global forum where professionals can share, learn and grow. AES champions the use of sound science and clinical care through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education and by furthering the advancement of the profession. Learn more at

About the Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation leads the fight to stop seizures and SUDEP, find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. Learn more at

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Michelle Uher,, (612) 928-6120

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