Experimental Epilepsy Research - Main research goals
Epilepsy is a brain disease defined as repeated seizures reflecting recurrent, abnormal, and hypersynchronous neuronal discharges. Epilepsy affects 0.5-1% world population, i.e. 50 million people worldwide. In many cases seizures can be controlled by medication though epilepsy cannot be cured yet. However 30% patients with epilepsy suffer seizures that are resistant to pharmacological treatment. In particular focal epilepsies such as mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) are often drug resistant. In these cases neurosurgery currently remains the more reliable treatment to control seizures.
The Experimental Epilepsy Research laboratory aims at a better understanding of focal epilepsies with the perspective of developing new tools for treatment and/or intervention. To this end we follow a three-pillar approach involving:
1) Analysis of human epileptic brain tissue resected for therapeutic purpose,
2) In vivo disease modeling with mouse MTLE models,
3) In vitro studies (organotypic hippocampal slice cultures) offering easy accessibility and pharmacological manipulation.
We use a plethora of molecular, biochemical, electrophysiological and behavioral techniques to investigate the role of correct lamination, synaptic reorganization, neuronal loss and generation of new neurons in the epileptic brain.