Early Career Awardees

Congratulations to the 2023 Early Career Fellowship Awardees!

AES is proud to support 25 early career scientists in 2023 with $1.19 million in research grants and fellowships.

With support from philanthropic donations, the Sergievsky Fund for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity, the Lennox and Lombroso Fund for Research and Training, and the Susan S. Spencer Fund for Clinical Research and Education, AES supports trainees and newly independent investigators working across the full spectrum of epilepsy research, from basic science to translational and clinical research.

Sergievsky Award for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity

Michelle Tall, PhD
AI-Based Mobile Intervention on Medication Non-Adherence and Transition
University of Central Florida
Mentors: Azadeh Vosoughi, PhD; and Luis E. Bello-Espinosa, MD, Diplomate, ABPN, ACNS, FAES

Junior Investigator Awards

Yi Li, MD, PhD
Genetic impact of women with epilepsy on their children’s cognitive outcome
The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
Caroline Pearson, PhD
Identifying developmental pathways underlying Epilepsy and Autism
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Rachel June Smith, PhD
Neural resonance as a biomarker of the epileptogenic network
University of Alabama at Birmingham

AES/EF Junior Investigator Award (funded in full by the Epilepsy Foundation)

R. Ryley Parrish, PhD
Novel Model to Study Refractory Status Epilepticus
Brigham Young University

Research and Training Fellowship for Clinicians

Samuel Terman, MD
Provider views of antiseizure medication discontinuation risk calculation
The Regents of the University of Michigan
Mentor: Jack Parent, MD
Ifrah Zawar, MD
Epilepsy in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias
University of Virginia
Mentors: Jaideep Kapur, MD, PhD; Carol Manning, PhD, ABPP-CN; and Preston T. Fletcher, PhD

Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation (PERF)/SYNGAP Research Fund (SRF)/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians (funded at 50% by PERF and 20% by SRF)

Jillian McKee, MD, PhD
Reconstructing the longitudinal disease history in SYNGAP1-related disorder
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Mentor: Ingo Helbig, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Coralie Berthoux, PhD
Targeting hippocampal cannabinoid receptors to prevent the epilepsy onset
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Mentor: Pablo E. Castillo, MD, PhD
Felipe Branco de Paiva, MD
Effects of EEG Network Topology in Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mentors: Aaron Struck, MD; and Moo K. Chung, PhD
Manuel Silva-Pérez, PhD
Role of norepinephrine in incidence of epileptic activity in Alzheimer’s
Baylor College of Medicine
Mentor: Jeannie Chin, PhD
Kyle Stokes, PhD
Evaluating STXBP1 epileptic encephalopathy using human brain organoids
The Regents of the University of Michigan
Mentor: Jack Parent, MD
Pratyush Suryavanshi, PhD
Deleterious effects of seizure-induced injury on dendritic function
The University of Iowa
Mentor: Joseph Glykys, MD, PhD
Taruna Yadav, PhD
Novel clinical tool to quantify impaired consciousness in epilepsy
Yale University
Mentor: Hal Blumenfeld, MD, PhD

Partners Against Mortality in Epilepsy (PAME) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (funded at 100% by PAME)

Aaron Del Pozo Sanz, PhD
Identifying new serotonin-related compounds for the prevention of SUDEP
University of Washington
Mentor: Melissa Barker-Haliski, PhD

FamilieSCN2A Foundation/AES Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, funded at 10% by FamilieSCN2A

Xiaoling Chen, PhD
Evaluating the antiseizure efficacy of AAV-KCN1A in Scn2a-deficient mice
Purdue University
Mentor: Yang Yang, PhD

Predoctoral Research Fellowships

Samantha Bottom-Tanzer, BA
In vivo mesoscale imaging of epileptogenesis and post-traumatic epilepsy
Trustees of Tufts College
Mentor: Christopher Dulla, PhD
Nahal Heydari
The Influence of Nocturnal Seizures on Memory
St. John's University
Mentor: Marla Hamberger, PhD
Amanda McGann, BS
Cell-type specific function of miR-324-5p in epileptogenesis
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Mentor: Christina Gross, PhD
Brianna Pereira
Interictal Discharges in Disease Progression of Glioma Associated Epilepsy
Columbia University Medical Center
Mentors: Peter D. Canoll, MD, PhD; and Catherine Schevon, MD, PhD
Aishwarya Ramamurthy, MS
Impact of epilepsy-associated non-coding variants on gene regulation
Northwestern University, Chicago Campus
Mentor: Gemma Louise Carvill, PhD
Dana Shaw, BS
Voltage imaging interictal biomarkers in a cortical mouse model of epilepsy
Trustees of Boston University, CRC
Mentors: Xue Han, PhD; and Catherine Chu, MD
Jonathan Towne, BA
Atrophy-Based Functional Network Modeling of Seizure-Onset Laterality
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Mentors: Peter Fox, MD; and Jose Cavazos, MD, PhD

Epilepsy Study Consortium Mini-grants

Saumel Ahmadi, MD, PhD
Patient specific iPSC-neurons for personalized anti-seizure drug discovery
Washington University in St.Louis
Mentors: Fumihiko Urano, MD, PhD; and Kwee Lui Lin Thio, MD

Susan S. Spencer, MD, Clinical Research Training Fellowship in Epilepsy

Wesley Kerr, MD, PhD
Addressing concerns with time-to-event trials through re-analysis of past trials
University of Michigan
Mentor: William Stacey, MD, PhD

The following awards were given to the 25 early career scientists above:

  • Junior Investigator Awards: $50,000 for newly independent investigators to support direct costs of research plus one year of AES membership
  • Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians: Mentored support for clinical fellows or junior clinical faculty with up to $51,000 for stipend and travel support plus one year of AES membership
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowships: Mentored research fellowships with up to $50,000 for stipend and travel support plus one year of AES membership
  • Predoctoral Research Fellowships: Mentored research fellowships with up to $30,000 for stipend and travel support plus one year of AES membership
  • Epilepsy Study Consortium Mini-grants: Funded by ESC and administered by AES; up to $22,000 for fellows to undertake a mentored project on anti-epileptic drug therapy during their fellowship training
  • Susan S. Spencer, MD, Clinical Research Training Fellowship in Epilepsy, 2022-2024: Funded by AES, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
  • Sergievsky Award for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity: $150,000 over two years awarded to physicians and scientists who identify as members of groups historically underrepresented in science and medicine and/or who are researching issues that affect medically underserved individuals with epilepsy or seizures ore related aspects of health equity


The American Epilepsy Society would like to thank Gemma Carvill, PhD, and William Stacey, MD, PhD, co-chairs of the AES Early Career Grants Committee, and the long list of volunteer reviewers for their continued efforts in supporting the next generation of epilepsy researchers.

AES would also like to thank our funding partners for joining us to support the future of epilepsy research:

  • The Epilepsy Foundation for one award in full
  • The Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation and SYNGAP Research Fund for co-funding of one award
  • Epilepsy Study Consortium for full funding of one ESC mini-grant
  • FamilieSCN2A for co-funding one award
  • Partners Against Mortality in Epilepsy (PAME) for fully funding one award
  • The American Brain Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Academy of Neurology for their decade-long partnership with the American Epilepsy Society for support of the Susan Spencer Clinical Research Training Scholarship