Chicago, Illinois (June 14, 2019)— Fellowships or grants have been awarded to 25 early career epilepsy
scientists, the American Epilepsy Society (AES) announced today. Included are predoctoral and postdoctoral
trainees, junior investigators establishing their independent programs, and clinicians and fellows pursuing
additional training for a career in research.
“The scientific and medical communities recognize there is a shortage of researchers focused on epilepsy,” said
Page Pennell, M.D., president of the American Epilepsy Society. “AES is committed to supporting early career
investigators, which in turn will produce new discoveries and treatments in the years to come. Supporting
junior investigators is vital given that cutbacks in research funding, particularly by government agencies, have
made it extremely difficult for new investigators to secure grants needed to launch a research career
and subsequently compete for larger,longer-term support from the National Institutes of Health or other
AES is one of the largest non-governmental funders for those starting their careers in epilepsy research, with
over 85 percent of its grant dollars targeted to early career researchers working across the spectrum of
epilepsy research from basic science through translational and clinical investigations. The program has nearly
doubled in its reach from 14 awardees in 2015 to 25 awardees in 2019. The full list of 2019 awardees is
available at aesnet.org/earlycareer.
AES grants are supported by generous philanthropic donations both from the public and from AES members,
with additional support in the past year from LivaNova and Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC. Ten awards were
made possible in full or in part by the generous support of other non-profit organizations, representing a
shared commitment to support the future of epilepsy research. Three awards are supported in full by the
Epilepsy Foundation and two by the Epilepsy Study Consortium. The Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation
co-funded one pediatric research fellowship at 50% and two grants were supported in part by the Wishes for
Elliott or the Lennox Gastaut Syndrome Foundation.
The AES is a proud partner on the Susan Spencer Clinical Research Training Fellowship and congratulates the
2019 recipient, Lisseth Burbano, MD, of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience. The award was established in
honor of Susan S. Spencer, MD, a past president of AES, and was created to foster the development of
investigators interested in pursuing careers in patient-oriented research. The award is made possible by the
American Academy of Neurology with funding from the American Epilepsy Society, the American Brain
Foundation, and the Epilepsy Foundation.
“It is a pleasure to congratulate this impressive group of talented and committed scientists,” said Eileen M.
Murray, MM, CAE, 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.”