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The Dr. Alfonsina Q. Davies
Epilepsy Foundation 
 
May 2016      

 
 
 
Research Update

Dr. Alfonsina Q. Davies Endowed Chair
for Epilepsy Research
in Honor of Paul Crandall, M.D.
 
 
By Dr. Gary Mathern
 
 
  It is an honor and a privilege to be named the first occupant for the Davies/Crandall Chair for Epilepsy Research at UCLA.  I knew Paul Crandall and he has inspired my academic research career as I have tried to emulate his career as my own.  By combining a humanitarian approach to patient care along with a rigorous scientific approach to understand and treat Epilepsy in people we can
make gains and change epilepsy treatment.  My career focus has been in the area of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery, an area that was just developing when Paul Crandall retired, and differs in the etiologies and surgical approaches compared with what Dr Crandall performed.  Below are the areas of current research investigation that we are involved in at UCLA, some of which need support above what the chair provides.  Anyone interested in contributing to this research can contact me at gmathern@ucla.edu  :

The Molecular Biology of pediatric Epilepsy surgery
 
With modern techniques we can begin to understand the genes and proteins expressed in areas that cause seizures in the human brain with an eye of using this information in developing new treatments.  This involves collecting the brain area of interest to sequence the DNA and look at the genes and proteins expressed in that area compared with more normal brain looking for markers that may indicate how this area of brain produces seizures and ways to treat it. This is a similar approach that has revolutionized brain tumor diagnosis and treatment.  Just about every brain tumor resected today undergoes DNA and protein analysis.  Identification of certain genes is linked with response to chemical treatments after surgery.  We would like to do a similar approach to children with epilepsy, whereby analysis of the brain regions will hopefully identify targets that can be used in future patients to control seizures without the need of surgery.  In order to accomplish this goal we have established the UCLA Pediatric Surgery Brain bank to collect and process not only the tissue from surgery at UCLA, but also other collaborators throughout the United States and the World.  Eventually, I think it should be standard of care toward the goal of personalized medicine that every brain specimen removed at surgery should undergo DNA and protein analysis.
 
 
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