Taking Flight Award

Harnessing the Fly Model System to Understand How Sleep Disruption Worsens Seizure Burden

Vishnu Cuddapah, MD, PhD
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

It is well-documented that sleep disruption increases seizure likelihood and severity. Despite this interaction being so widely recognized, we know little about the reasons for this association. Dr. Cuddapah will use a fruit fly (Drosophila) model to identify mechanisms that tie sleep disruption to increased seizure severity. He will determine if seizure risk can be decreased by inactivating brain regions that cause sleepiness. He will also identify which signaling molecules are responsible for incrased seizure risk after sleep loss. Using genetic tools and a fly model system where sleep systems can be easily manipulated, this project will help improve understanding of the sleep circuits in the brain that control seizure risk. It will also help establish research tools to enable further studies in this field.