Jun 22, 2020

American Epilepsy Society Awards $1.1 Million in Epilepsy Research Grants

Twenty-Five Early Career Scientists Honored as 2020 Fellowship Awardees

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Press Release


CHICAGO, IL (June 22, 2020) The American Epilepsy Society (AES) announced today that it has awarded $1.1 million in epilepsy research grants and fellowships to twenty-five early career scientists committed to studying epilepsy.

“As one of the largest non-governmental funders for those starting careers in epilepsy research, AES is committed to developing the next generation of epilepsy investigators,” says William D. Gaillard, MD, President of the American Epilepsy Society. “Announcement of our latest grantees is always a proud moment. The collective talent and accomplishment represented by this year’s impressive awardees—combined with that of grantees from previous years—promises to fuel advances in epilepsy prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in years to come.”

AES research dollars support trainees, fellows, and newly independent investigators working across the full spectrum of epilepsy research, from basic science through translational and clinical research for all types of epilepsy, seizures, and related conditions. Applications are reviewed through a rigorous process built using national standards for assessment of research requests. AES member volunteers conduct the review and select the awardees.

Grants are supported in part by philanthropic gifts and bequests to the Lennox and Lombroso Fund for Research and Training and the Susan S. Spencer Fund for Clinical Research and Education. In addition, several nonprofit organizations and industry supporters provide full or partial funding of specific grants. Please join AES in thanking:

  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation
  • Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy
  • Wishes for Elliott
  • Epilepsy Study Consortium
  • American Brain Foundation, in collaboration with American Academy of Neurology
  • LivaNova

The American Epilepsy Society 2020 Early Career Fellowship Awardees are:

Junior Investigator Awards

$50,000 for newly-independent investigators to support the direct costs of research, along with one year of AES membership.

Ukpong Eyo, PhD
Targeting microglial P2Y12R to ameliorate febrile status epilepticus
University of Virginia

Emily Johnson, MD
Late-onset epilepsy, cognition, and biomarkers
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
*Award contracting still in progress

Vaishnav Krishnan, MD, PhD
Neurodevelopmental Consequences of Fetal Anticonvulsant Exposure
Baylor College of Medicine

Elliot Smith, PhD
Interictally derived probabilistic maps of seizure onset location
University of Utah

Fraser Sparks, PhD
Adult-born granule cell microcircuit reorganization in epilepsy
Columbia University Medical Center

AES/EF Junior Investigator Award, funded in full by the Epilepsy Foundation
Leah Blank, MD
Determinants of guideline adherent therapy in newly diagnosed epilepsy
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

AES/EF Junior Investigator Award, funded in full by the Epilepsy Foundation
David Klorig, PhD
Evaluating Gene Therapy Strategies to Treat Epilepsy Using a Novel Method
Wake Forest University

Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians

Mentored support for clinical fellows or junior clinical faculty with up to $50,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership.

Claire Jacobs, MD, PhD
Functional evaluation of STXBP1 variants in STXBP1-encephalopathy
Massachusetts General Hospital
Mentor: Stephen Haggarty, PhD

Jennifer Shum, MD
Functional Mapping of Language with High Gamma Electrocorticography
New York University School of Medicine
Mentor: Orrin Devinsky, MD

Steven Tobochnik, MD
Predicting epileptogenic zones by stimulation-induced seizure recruitment
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Mentor: Page Pennell, MD

PERF/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded at 50% by PERF
Tayyba Anwar, MD
Multifactorial modeling of post-neonatal epilepsy following HIE
Children’s National Medical Center and Children’s Research Institute
Mentor: Tammy Tsuchida, MD, PhD

CURE/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded at 50% by CURE
James Gugger, MD, PharmD
Free-water imaging in post-traumatic epilepsy
University of Pennsylvania
Mentor: Ramon Diaz-Arrastia MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Mentored research fellowships with up to $50,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership.

Aswathy AmmothumKandy, PhD
Adult new born glia in human epilepsy: friend or foe?
University of Southern California
Mentor: Michael Bonaguidi, PhD

Jessica Chancey, PhD
Mechanisms of enhanced excitabilty in a mouse model of GEFS/Dravet syndrome
University of Texas at Austin
Mentor: MacKenzie Howard, PhD
Supported by the Lennox and Lombroso Trust for Research and Training

Ping Dong, PhD
Targeting BK calcium-activated potassium channels in absence epilepsy
Duke University
Mentor: Huanghe Yang, PhD
Supported by the Lennox and Lombroso Trust for Research and Training

Hisako Fujiwara, PhD
Predicting epilepsy surgery outcome with MEG functional connectivity
Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Mentor: Jeffrey Tenney, MD, PhD

Kaoutsar Nasrallah, PhD
Role of a Hippocampal Associative Neuronal Circuit in Early Epilepsy
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Mentor: Pablo Castillo, MD, PhD

Chelsea Pernici, PhD
Longitudinal, in vivo Ca2+ imaging during spontaneous seizure activity
University of Utah
Mentor: Karen Wilcox, PhD
Supported by the Lennox and Lombroso Trust for Research and Training

AES Predoctoral Research Fellowships

Mentored research fellowships with up to $30,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership.

Jennifer Cheng, BA
Pathogenic Mechanisms Associated with a CUX2 Missense Variant in Epilepsy
Northwestern University
Mentor: Gemma Carvill, PhD

Madelyn Haller, BA
Investigating Gliopathic Epilepsy in a Drosophila Model of PIGA Deficiency
University of Utah
Mentor: Clement Chow, PhD

Susan Nguyen, MSOT, BS TLR4
Modulation of Dentate Inhibition and its Effect on Pattern Separation
University of California, Riverside
Mentor: Vijayalakshmi Santhakumar, PhD

AES/Wishes for Elliott Predoctoral Research Fellowship, funded at $10,000 by Wishes for Elliott
Letonia Copeland-Hardin, BS
Characterization of gene modifiers in a mouse model of epilepsy
Northwestern University
Mentor: Jennifer Kearney, PhD

Epilepsy Study Consortium Mini-Grants, funded by ESC and administered by AES

Taneeta Ganguly, MD
Perampanel in Glioma Associated seizures - Efficacy and Safety
University of Pennsylvania
Mentor: Michael Gelfand, MD, PhD

Epilepsy Foundation Clinical Research Apprenticeship Award, funded by the Epilepsy Foundation and administered by AES

Susanna O’Kula, MD
Healthcare Utilization and Workplace Productivity in Hispanic PWE
New York University School of Medicine
Mentors: Daniel Friedman, MD, and Tanya Spruill, PhD

Susan S Spencer Clinical Research Training Fellowship, 2020-2021

Funded by the American Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology

Colin Ellis, MD
Polygenic Risk Transmission in Familial Epilepsy
University of Pennsylvania
Mentors: Samuel Berkovic, AC FAA FRACP FRS and Brian Litt, MD



Davis Renzelmann
Public Communications Inc.

About the American Epilepsy Society

Founded in 1936, the American Epilepsy Society (AES) is a medical and scientific society whose members are dedicated to advancing research and education for preventing, treating and curing epilepsy. AES is an inclusive global forum where professionals from academia, private practice, not-for-profit, government and industry can learn, share and grow to eradicate epilepsy and its consequences.