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Building on a legacy of excellence in bench and clinical epilepsy research


The University of Virginia is home to the internationally recognized, pioneering F.E. Dreifuss Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, which has provided diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and related disorders to patients since 1977. The conduct of advanced basic science and clinical research in epilepsy and related areas is central to the mission of the epilepsy program at UVA and has resulted in a rich environment of epilepsy research investigators over the last many decades. 

UVA has a well-established program in a condition called status epilepticus, where seizures are prolonged or recurrent so as to injure the brain. UVA researchers defined mechanisms of collapse of brain inhibition during status epilepticus and measures that can be taken to restore it. This work led to the Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial (ESETT), an NIH-funded, multicenter clinical trial based at UVA. 

Current research projects include exploring the molecular, hormonal, and metabolic mechanisms of epilepsy, understanding the neural circuit mechanisms and physiological patterns in SUDEP, developing advanced biomarker imaging techniques for focal drug resistant epilepsy, advancing predictive techniques for neonatal seizures and epileptic activity in dementia patients, and collaborating on industry clinical trials. 

The Brain Institute supports epilepsy research across Grounds by providing staff to support clinical research protocols, by investing in shared EEG/electrophysiology equipment to support basic science research, and by connecting the community through events, shared initiatives, and complex proposal development to bring additional research discoveries and therapies to the bedside of patients with epilepsy. 

Epilepsy Care at UVA Health

UVA Health and the Department of Neurology offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary clinical care for adult and pediatric patients with epilepsy.