Announcing the grant recipients in CURE’s Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative! Read about this team’s innovative projects below:
Post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) is a frequent and debilitating complication of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Over 40% of combat troops who suffer severe TBI will develop PTE.
Having secured a $10 million grant from the US Department of Defense, CURE has launched an unprecedented Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative. This initiative is a team science, multi-disciplinary program that will expand the knowledge around the types of injuries that predispose the brain to epilepsy, as well as a develop new models to study epilepsy that results from injury.
Meet CURE’s pioneering Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative team:
Victoria E. Johnson, MBChB, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Johnson will characterize the relationship between the detrimental neural changes which can follow TBI and the development of PTE. These changes include chronic leakage of the blood-brain barrier, neuronal degeneration, and gliosis. The research team will utilize tissue from humans following TBI, as well as novel models of TBI.
Harald Sontheimer, PhD
Dr. Sontheimer and his team of collaborators have identified the need for additional animal models of PTE. The team’s hope is that identifying alternative animal models will lead to the discovery of new PTE biomarkers and, eventually, to novel treatments. To identify new animal models, Dr. Sontheimer’s team plans to investigate how TBI leads to PTE in a new mouse model compared to an established one.
Kevin Staley, MD
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Staley will test if changes in the brain’s neuronal support system after TBI alter the balance of inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission. His team is also set to explore why PTE following TBI is often difficult to treat. Using highly innovative imaging techniques, Dr. Staley aims to provide new insight into how PTE develops and new methods to identify high-risk patients.
Kevin Wang, PhD
University of Florida
Dr. Wang has developed a robust rat model of penetrating TBI to understand how this type of injury can lead to PTE. His team will compare rats that develop PTE to those that do not. The goal is to uncover the unique chemical and molecular processes which lead to PTE following a penetrating TBI. These findings could provide new areas of focus and potential biomarkers for developing treatments.