Early Career Awardees

Congratulations to the 2021 Early Career Fellowship Awardees!

AES is proud to support 26 early career scientists in 2021 with $1.06 million in research grants and fellowships.

With support from philanthropic donations, 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.

Junior Investigator Awards

Isamu Aiba, PhD
Spreading depolarizations contribute to epilepsy comorbidities
Baylor College of Medicine
Kimberly Aldinger, PhD
Functional characterization of MAST4 variants
Seattle Children's Hospital
Allyson Alexander, MD, PhD
MTOR pathway dysfunction and hub cells in focal cortical dysplasia
University of Colorado, Denver
Roni Dhaher, PhD
Modulating the relief from anhedonia and seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy
Yale University
Laura Ewell, PhD
Lateralization in mouse temporal lobe epilepsy
University of California, Irvine
Churl-Su Kwon, MD, MPH
AES/EF Junior Investigator Award, Funded in full by the Epilepsy Foundation
Disparities in epilepsy surgery quality of care and access to care
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians

Brad Kamitaki, MD
Addressing barriers to comprehensive epilepsy care: A mixed-methods study
Rutgers University
Mentors: Joel Cantor, ScD; Haiqun Lin, MD, PhD; and Hyunmi Choi, MD
Joshua LaRocque, MD, PhD
Exploring the neural basis of naming impairment in patients with epilepsy
University of Wisconsin-Madison, and New York University
Mentors: Anli Liu, MD; Adeen Flinker, PhD; Aaron Struck, MD; and Orrin Devinsky, MD
Sheela Toprani, MD, PhD
Network-targeted therapy for epilepsy and neuropsychological comorbidities
University of California, Davis
Mentors: Kimford Meador, MD; Amy Brooks-Kayal, MD; and Karen Anne Moxon, PhD
Amanda Sandoval Karamian, MD
PERF/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded at 50% by PERF
White matter microstructural abnormalities in neonatal genetic epilepsy
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Mentors: Nicholas Abend, MD and Hao Huang, PhD
Julie Ziobro, MD, PhD
PCDH19 Alliance/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded at 40% by PCDH19 Alliance
Mechanisms of PCDH19 clustering epilepsy
University of Michigan
Mentor: Jack Parent, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Michelle Kloc, PhD
Cholinergic modulation of CA1 signaling in febrile status epilepticus
University of Vermont
Mentor: Gregory Holmes, MD
Frederic Schaper, MD, PhD
Network mapping of focal epilepsy using lesions and deep brain stimulation
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Mentors: Michael Fox, MD, PhD and Ellen Bubrick, MD
Alena Stasenko, PhD
Improving pre-surgical language assessment in bilinguals with epilepsy
University of California, San Diego
Mentor: Carrie McDonald, PhD
Yusuke Takezawa, MD, PhD
Calcium overload and cell swelling during hypoxia in the neonatal brain
University of Iowa
Mentor: Joseph Glykys, MD, PhD
William Tobin, PhD
Determinants of cortical interneuron dysfunction in KCNT1-related epilepsy
University of Vermont
Mentor: Matthew Weston, PhD

Predoctoral Research Fellowships

Michael Granovetter, MS, AB
Neuroplasticity of the visual system following temporal cortical resection
Carnegie Mellon University
Mentor: Marlene Behrmann, PhD and Christina Patterson, MD
Darian Hadjiabadi, MS
Cellular pathways underlying pathological high-frequency oscillations
Stanford University
Mentor: Ivan Soltesz, PhD
Segewkal Hawaze Heruye, MS, BPharm
Targeting ROS-dependent synaptic dysfunction and cognitive deficits in TLE
Creighton University
Mentors: Timothy Simeone, PhD and Kristina Simeone PhD
Rachael Ryner, BS
Aberrant wnt signaling disrupts inhibitory networks in mouse model of IS
Tufts University
Mentor: Chris Dulla, PhD
James Sun, BA
Intraoperative recording in epilepsy with a high-density ECoG array
New York University School of Medicine
Mentors: Bijan Pesaran, PhD and Daniel Friedman, MD
Wanqi Wang, MA
Axon function in the pathogenesis of ARHGEF9 epileptic encephalopathy
Columbia University
Mentor: Wayne Frankel, PhD
Timothy Abreo, BS
AES/Wishes for Elliott Predoctoral Research Fellowship, co-funded at 15% by WFE
Characterization of gene modifiers in a mouse model of epilepsy
Baylor College of Medicine
Mentor: Edward Cooper, MD, PhD

Epilepsy Study Consortium Mini-grants

Alexander Arnold, MD
Using online seizure diaries to compare antiepileptic drug efficacy
University of Washington
Mentor: Nick Poolos, MD, PhD
Stephanie Reeder, MD
Use of Lacosamide (LCS) in elderly patients with epilepsy
University of Minnesota
Mentors: Sima Patel, MD; Angela Birnbaum, PhD; and Ilo Leppik, MD

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

Samuel Terman, MD
Seizure risk prediction after antiseizure medication discontinuation in patients with well-controlled epilepsy: Randomized trial reanalysis and pooling
University of Michigan
Mentors: James Burke, MD, MS and Jack Parent, MD

The following awards were given to the 26 bright 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 $50,000 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
  • Susan S. Spencer, MD, Clinical Research Training Fellowship in Epilepsy, 2021-2023: Funded by AES, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology


The American Epilepsy Society would like to thank Jenny Hsieh, 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 for co-funding of one award
  • The PCDH19 Alliance for co-funding one award
  • Epilepsy Study Consortium for full funding of two ESC mini-grants
  • Wishes for Elliott for co-funding of 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