Scientific Approaches

Epilepsy is a complex neurological disorder that encompasses more than simply repeated seizures and requires a multidisciplinary approach to make scientific advances. Our hope is that combining multiple research techniques can make headway to inform new therapeutic approaches for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy prevention and the treatment of epilepsy and its comorbidities, as well as other neurologic disease with shared pathophysiology such as sudden unexpected infant death. 

  • We utilize whole-cell patch clamp and field-potential electrophysiological recordings to study exciatbility and synaptic physiology in various brain regions important for outflow to respiratory related brainstem nuclei and also important in mediating the stress response and anxiety.  We are interested in changes in these regions in epilepsy models, taking advantage of state of the art electrophysiological equipment capable of fluorescent-guided patch-clamp, dual patch-clamp recordings and optogenetic control.

  • We make use of immunohistochemistry and in-situ hybridization studies to functionally define neuronal populations. We used targeted intercerebral injections of anterograde and retrograde tracers and viral vectors to aid in the definition of projection neurons.  We utilize measurements of neuronal activity including early-immediate gene expression combined with these approaches 

  • We use animal behavioral monitoring and assays to ultimately make sense of the physiology, monitoring seizures, performing EEG, assessing anxiety behavior and more. We also use plethysmography to monitor respiratory functions in animals, combined with full telemetry of other biologic variables.

  • We use in vivo optogenetics to study neural circuit control of respiration and other complex behaviors.