CURE - Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy It's Time We Found a CURE CURE Epilepsy Research

CURE’s Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) is a visionary team that advises CURE on the state of epilepsy research, how CURE’s research portfolio fits within it, and on the most promising future directions and initiatives that will drive the search for cures. CURE is immensely grateful to these individuals, who volunteer their time and expertise to help CURE achieve its mission.

Scientific Advisory Council (in alphabetical order):
Emery N. Brown, MD PhD

Emery N. Brown, MD PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Harvard

Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD is the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School; and a practicing anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Brown received his BA (magna cum laude) in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College, his MA and his PhD in statistics from Harvard University and his MD (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and his residency in anesthesiology at MGH.

Dr. Brown is an anesthesiologist-statistician whose experimental research has made important contributions towards understanding the neuroscience of how anesthetics act in the brain to create the states of general anesthesia. In his statistics research he has developed signal processing algorithms to solve important data analysis challenges in neuroscience.

Dr. Brown served on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) BRAIN Initiative Working Group, and is currently a member of the NIH Council of Councils, the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Science Foundation Mathematics and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and the Board of Trustees of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

Jaideep Kapur, MD, PhD

Jaideep Kapur, MD, PhD
University of Virginia

Jaideep Kapur, M.B.B.S., MD, PhD, is the Eugene Meyer III Professor of Neuroscience, Professor of Neurology at the University of Virginia. He is the Director of the Neurosciences Center at University of Virginia Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Kapur has a long-standing interest in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying prolonged self-sustaining seizures, called status epilepticus. His laboratory studies mechanisms of rapid plasticity of synapses and neuronal circuits during status epilepticus. He is a co-leader of the Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial (ESETT), a National Institutes of Health-funded (NIH) multicenter clinical trial to determine the best second line treatment of benzodiazepine refractory status epilepticus. Another area of research is regulation of seizures by hormonal fluctuations. Grants from National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, Epilepsy Foundation, and Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) support his research.

He served as the President of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) in 2010. He received the 2013 Epilepsy Research Recognition Award for Basic Science conferred by the American Epilepsy Society.

James O. McNamara, MD

Henrik Klitgaard, PhD
UCB, Inc.

Henrik Klitgaard, PhD, is currently Vice President, UCB Fellow, Neurosciences Therapeutic Area and is located in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium. He received a PhD in Human Physiology in 1989 at the August Krogh Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. During his university career, Dr. Klitgaard worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, and at Harvard University, Boston, US.

Dr. Klitgaard has published around 100 peer-reviewed original papers, reviews and book chapters, and is a frequent speaker at neuroscience and epilepsy science meetings. His memberships and accolades include a position on the U.S. National Institute of Health’s epilepsy advisory committee and membership on the Neurobiology Committees of both the International League Against Epilepsy and American Epilepsy Society. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Lifetime Accelerator Award of the Epilepsy Therapy Project and Epilepsy Foundation for his contribution to the advancement of therapies for the treatment of epilepsy.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Klitgaard has conducted antiepileptic drug (AED) discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. He has contributed numerous publications on basic and applied aspects of epilepsy research and has frequently been an invited speaker at epilepsy congresses and meetings. During his career in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Klitgaard has been involved in the discovery and development of several AEDs at both Novo Nordisk A/S and at UCB, most notably Levetiracetam and Brivaracetam.

James O. McNamara, MD

James O. McNamara, MD
Duke University

Dr. McNamara is the Duke School of Medicine Professor of Neurosciences at Duke University and a member of the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. McNamara’s research concentrates on how a normal brain becomes epileptic. His recent work has centered on the role of the BDNF receptor, TrkB, in epileptogenesis induced by episodes of prolonged seizures. Dr. McNamara graduated cum laude from Marquette University and Alpha Omega Alpha from the University of Michigan Medical School. He has received numerous honors and awards, including two Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator awards from the NIH and a research recognition award from the American Epilepsy Society. He has delivered numerous distinguished lectures, and authored over 200 scientific papers. He also served as director of the Epilepsy Center of the Durham VA Medical Center and founded the Duke Center for Advanced Study of Epilepsy.

Brenda Porter, MD, PhD

Brenda Porter, MD, PhD
Stanford University

Brenda E. Porter, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Stanford University. She received her MD and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. She traveled east to complete her child neurology fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She went on to complete a combined clinical and research fellowship in epilepsy.

Dr. Porter developed an interest in difficult to treat epilepsy, with a special focus on children with neuronal developmental disorders leading to epilepsy such as tuberous sclerosis and focal cortical dysplasia. Her clinical research focuses on improving outcomes in epilepsy surgery, increasing parental understanding of epilepsy and the role epilepsy surgery plays in treatment. She enjoys working in her lab studying the molecular and cellular changes that contribute to the development of epilepsy. Her research has shown that suppression of CREB a transcription factor can decrease the severity of epilepsy and is hoping to expand on this finding and someday turn her research findings into a therapeutic strategy for preventing epilepsy.

She enjoys teaching students in small groups or one-on-one in the clinic. An especially enjoyable afternoon is a lively discussion while reading EEGs with the epilepsy fellows. She is Director of the Stanford Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic and Medical Director of the Neurodiagnostic lab at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Currently she sits on the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Neuroscience Training (NST-1) study section and has helped Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) and the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance with their grant reviews. Active in the American Epilepsy Society (AES) and the Child Neurology Society, she has served on numerous committees over the years.

Vicky Holets Whittemore, PhD

Vicky Holets Whittemore, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Liaison

Vicky Holets Whittemore, PhD is a Program Director in the Channels, Synapses and Circuits Cluster at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this position, Dr. Whittemore combines her basic neuroscience training with her passion for helping individuals with epilepsy and genetic disorders to shepherd a portfolio of grants on the basic mechanisms and causes of epilepsy, including genetic causes, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

Dr. Whittemore received a BS in Zoology from Iowa State University and a PhD in anatomy from the University of Minnesota Medical School. She did post-doctoral training at the University of California, Irvine, and a Fogarty Fellowship at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. She was on the faculty of the University of Miami School of Medicine in The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis before turning to work with nonprofit organizations after her nephew was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis complex. She spent 23 years working for nonprofit organizations including the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, Genetic Alliance, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), and the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG). Dr. Whittemore joined the staff of NINDS in August 2011, and also serves as the NINDS Liaison to the Office of Research on Women’s Health.




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