Chicago, Ill. (June 11, 2018)— Twenty-one new fellowship and grants have been awarded in 2018 to early career scientists for epilepsy research, the American Epilepsy Society (AES) announced today. Thanks to generous philanthropic donations and non-profit partners, AES is proud to be one of the largest non-governmental funders for early career scientists in epilepsy with over 85% of the AES grant portfolio focused on the emerging generation of researchers who will impact epilepsy for years to come.
“On behalf of the AES Board of Directors and our funding partners, it is a pleasure to congratulate this impressive group of talented and committed junior researchers,” said Eileen M. Murray, executive director of the American Epilepsy Society. “Their work is an important part of our mission of advancing research and education for professionals dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of epilepsy and investing in the future of the specialty. We are deeply grateful for the generous donors and partners who help to make these grants possible.”
“The scientific and medical communities recognize there is a shortage of researchers focused on epilepsy,” said Shlomo Shinnar, MD, PhD, president of the American Epilepsy Society Board of Directors. “The path young scientists must follow to build productive, long-term independent research careers in academia has become more and more difficult in recent decades. Meanwhile, the need is as great as ever for creative and well-trained scientists dedicated to understanding and treating these serious conditions. Early career grants are an essential part of launching a career and subsequently competing for larger, longer-term support from the National Institutes of Health or other significant funders. AES has an explicit, long-term commitment to filling the epilepsy talent pipeline, which in turn will produce new discoveries and treatments over the next generation.”
The 2018 awards include Predoctoral Research Fellowships, Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, Research and Training Fellowships for Clinicians, and Junior Investigator Awards for early career faculty establishing independent programs. New in 2018, 7 early career grantees will receive supplementary travel support to empower them to further develop their skill set through attending a workshop or conference targeted to their professional goals.
Through partnership, the American Epilepsy Society and our non-profit partners work to make dollars go further to support research. One junior faculty award is cosponsored by Wishes for Elliott: Advancing SCN8A Research. Two junior faculty and clinician awards are supported in full by the Epilepsy Foundation, representing their continued investment in the next generation. The full list of 2018 awardees is available at aesnet.org/earlycareer
A flagship investment in the epilepsy research talent pipeline is the Susan Spencer, MD, Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Epilepsy, providing two years of support for a junior scientist focused on patient-oriented clinical research. The 2018 awardee, Dr. Hiroki Nariai, will be mentored by Dr. Joyce Wu and Dr. Raman Sankar at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. His award is administered by the American Academy of Neurology and jointly funded by AES, the Epilepsy Foundation, and the American Brain Foundation.