Taking Flight Award

Harnessing Neuromodulation to Target Peri-ictal Dysfunction in Epilepsy

Joanna Mattis, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

A seizure is a sudden burst of uncontrolled electric disturbance in the brain. How can this pattern arise abruptly from normal activity? In other words, how do seizures start? This fundamental question remains unanswered despite decades of research.

Dr. Joanna Mattis will study neuromodulatory neurons which are “master regulators” that control many functions in the brain. These neurons are located deep within the brain but connect with seizure-prone brain regions. Dr. Mattis will test whether these neurons coordinate the transition between normal brain activity and seizures, and whether activating these neurons can be therapeutic in epilepsy.