Epilepsy

University of Virginia’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program (CEP) was founded in 1977 by F.E. Dreifuss and Eric Lothman, who developed the clinical classifications for epilepsy and seizures that is still in use today. The epilepsy research group developed within the Department of Neurology who have synergized with basic scientists. UVA now has a well-established program in a condition called status epilepticus, where seizures are prolonged or recurrent so as to injure the brain. They defined mechanisms of collapse of brain inhibition during status epilepticus and measures that can be taken to restore it. This work led to an NIH-funded, multi-center trial based at UVA, the Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial (ESETT).

The process of translating an idea into therapy was accomplished because of investments in both fundamental studies and a clinical translational research program at UVA, proximity of these researchers, a common vision, and the ability to translate findings to clinical care. The collective work of this collaborative group includes development of animal models and continuous brain monitoring for epileptic seizures; identification of brain regions and characterization of neuronal proteins such as ion channels contributing to epilepsy; and testing of targeted therapies in vitro, animals and in clinical trials. Moving forward, genetics studies in man and animals are uncovering genetic mutations and variants that contribute to epilepsy subtypes, and testing novel drugs that target them, and collaborative studies are introducing novel neuromodulation techniques. These discoveries will inform the next steps of clinical and translational research and care.

Research Team

Director of the UVA Brain Institute, Professor of Neurology
434-924-5312
Professor and Chair of Pharmacology
434-982-4449
Professor of Neurological Surgery and Neurology
434-924-0451
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Associate Professor of Pharmacology
+1 (434) 243-8497
Professor of Neurology
+1 (434) 924-5233
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
T.E. Worrell Professor in Epileptology and Neurology
+1 (434) 924-5401
Chair of the Department of Neurology
+1 (434) 924-5312
Assistant Professor of Neurology
+1 (434) 924-3318
Harrison-Wood Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professor of Neurology
Professor of Neuroscience
Chair and Harrison Foundation Professor of Neuroscience
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
+1 (434) 924-9586
Professor of Pharmacology
+1 (434) 982-4442
T.R. Johns Professor in Neurology
+1 (434) 924-5312
Assistant Professor of Neurology

In The News

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Laurie Brenner, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the UVA School of Medicine. Mentored by Kevin Pelphrey, Jaideep Kapur and Karen Johnston, Brenner will study if “Autism-plus-epilepsy is an autism subtype with a focal neurobiological basis.”
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The results definitively showed that three commonly used drugs were about equally effective at stopping potentially deadly seizures when the default choice proved unable to do so.

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Dr. Jennifer Burnsed and her team have mapped regions of the brain affected during seizures, and plan to compare their findings with brain activity later in life.