Assistant Professor Chris Dulla, Ph.D., was recently named to CURE's "Dream Team" for his cutting-edge work in childhood epilepsy. Dulla and colleagues were the first to describe the spatial and temporal properties of glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Their development of new real-time imaging techniques for studying glutamate in the brain is expected to lead to key insights in the progression of epilepsy.
Professor Michele Jacob, Ph.D., and colleagues have zeroed in on a protein known as APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) and the ways that disrupted APC function can contribute to learning deficits, autism, and epilepsy. Recent studies from Dr. Jacob's lab are the first to demonstrate that APC is needed to assemble the precise complex of proteins for a successful synaptic event, providing invaluable new insight into neurotransmission. Dr. Jacob is also a key member of the CURE "Dream Team" at Tufts studying Infantile Spasms, a rare childhood epilepsy syndrome.
Assistant Professor Jamie Maguire, Ph.D., is exploring the little-understood connection between epilepsy and depression, as well as the interplay between the body's natural stress response and chronic disease. Research in Dr. Maguire's lab has yielded exciting new findings, recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Dr. Maguire also led the recent launch of the ENGAGE collaborative of epilepsy researchers.
The laboratory of Professor Steve Moss, Ph.D., is focused on another key component of neurotransmission: GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors. research in Dr. Moss's lab has advanced out understanding of how disruptions in the inhibitory role of GABA receptors contribute to epilepsy, addiction, autism, and schizophrenia. This work has important implications for treatment of these and other disorders.
Phil Haydon, Ph.D., the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor of Neuroscience and chair of the Department of Neuroscience, is one of the world's foremost experts in neuron-glia interactions, a phenomenon now thought to be central to a complete understanding of the brain and neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Dr. Haydon and several other faculty members are studying the once-overlooked glia and how they modulate the activities of their more famous neighbors, the neurons. This work could lead to significant breakthroughs in seizure control and prevention.