The National Institutes of Health has funded a $21.7 million grant supporting interdisciplinary research aimed at accelerating the development of therapies for epilepsy following traumatic brain injuries.
The study involves international and interdisciplinary partnerships led by seven principal investigators: Drs. Jerome Engel Jr. (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA); Aristea Galanopoulou and Solomon Moshé (both from the Einstein College of Medicine); Terence O’Brien (University of Melbourne); Asla Pitkänen (University of Eastern Finland); Arthur Toga (USC Laboratory of Neuro Imaging); and Paul Vespa (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA).
Participating in the study will be a network of 13 centers for traumatic brain injuries worldwide. The research teams will collaborate in the fields of bioinformatics, molecular biology, cellular pathology and the health sciences to identify biomarkers and preventative treatments associated with the onset of epilepsy.
This study will involve multiple projects investigating biomarkers associated with epileptogenesis, the process where a brain develops epilepsy, and treatments that may aid in prevention of epileptogenesis after a traumatic brain injury. The grant will also the partnership of the epilepsy community with centers for traumatic brain injuries and create resources to educate patients and their families about the importance of this research, and to learn from patients and their families about their most pressing needs and concerns about research.
Engel, the Jonathan Sinay Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and director of the UCLA Seizure Disorder Center, will be the overall director of the study. Dr. Vespa, assistant dean of critical care medicine and the Gary L. Brinderson Family Chair of Neurocritical Care at UCLA, will be project lead of the human multicenter clinical traumatic brain injury studies.
The UCLA Seizure Disorder Center, housed in the Department of Neurology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is a world leader in both basic and clinical epilepsy investigations. The center’s multidisciplinary team of preeminent researchers and clinicians lead a variety of basic-science projects and clinical studies. The UCLA Brain Injury Research Center is an international leader in traumatic brain injury research and will play a key role in this study.