We are focused on understanding and developing new treatments for epilepsy, mood disorder that often accompanies epilepsy, and related brain disease. Our projects are question-driven. Most are wide-ranging in technique, systems, and scale. Central to the work are the voltage-gated potassium and sodium ion channels that generate and conduct the action potential, the nerve cell's long-distance electrical signal. We also study the protein networks and signal paths that position, regulate, and respond to these channels.
What causes epilepsy? How can one tiny change in an ion channel gene sequence cause severe illness, but another, larger mutation have little or no effect? Why is mood so often negatively impacted in people with epilepsy, and some drugs developed for blocking seizures also improve mood in people susceptible to psychiatric illness? Can we develop better treatments, even cures, if we better understand how the affected brain cells and circuits work?
Funding: grants from NIH/NINDS, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), the Epilepsy Foundation, the American Epilepsy Society, The Jack Pribaz Foundation, an Investigator-initiated research contract from GlaxoSmithKline, and the Miles Family Fund.
We are affiliated with the Neurology Department, Neuroscience Department, Molecular and Human Genetics, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, and the Brain Disorders and Development Training Program of Baylor College of Medicine.