2019 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2019 Early Career Fellowship Awardees!

A list of past recipients can be viewed here.

The American Epilepsy Society is one of the largest non-governmental funders for those starting their careers in epilepsy research, with commitment of 85% of our grants budget. AES has an explicit, long-term commitment to developing talented researchers who will advance the understanding and treatment of epilepsy over the next generation.

With support from generous philanthropic donations, the Lennox and Lombroso Fund for Research and Training, and the Susan S. Spencer Fund for Clinical Research and Education, AES provides grants to research fellows in training and newly independent investigators working across the full spectrum of epilepsy research, from basic science to translational and clinical research. To add your support for the next generation of epilepsy researchers, click here

AES would like to thank our funding partners for joining us to support the future of epilepsy research. Three awards are supported in full by the Epilepsy Foundation (EF), one pediatric award is funded at 50% by the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation, one award in part by Wishes for Elliott, and one award in part by the Lennox Gastaut Syndrome Foundation. The American Epilepsy Society would like to thank LivaNova PLC for their support in 2017 and 2018 with educational grants for one to two named fellowships.

 

 

Junior Investigator Awards

$50,000 for newly independent investigators to support the direct costs of research, along with one year of AES membership.

Melissa Barker-Haliski, PhD
Role of Alzheimer's disease-associated risk genes on seizure susceptibility
University of Washington

Rani Sarkis, MD, MSc
The Cognitive and Imaging Characteristics of Late Onset Idiopathic Epilepsy
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Aimee Smith, PhD
“Costs” of Transition for YWE from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare Settings
East Carolina University

Olga Taraschenko, MD, PhD
Pathogenesis of seizures in anti-NMDAR encephalitis: role of inflammation
University of Nebraska Medical Center

 

AES/EF Junior Investigator Award, funded in full by the Epilepsy Foundation

Alicia Guemez Gamboa, PhD
Uncovering altered connectivity in epilepsy due to somatic mutations
Northwestern University – Chicago Campus

William Nobis, MD, PhD
The role of the extended amygdala in respiratory control and SUDEP
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

 

Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians

Mentored support for clinical fellows or junior clinical faculty with up to $50,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership.

Nicholas Gregg, MD
Invasive and Non-Invasive Measures of Multiday Rhythms of Epilepsy
Mayo Clinic
Mentor: Gregory Worrell, MD, PhD

Claude Steriade, MD
Antineuronal antibodies in epilepsy
New York University School of Medicine
Mentor: Jacqueline French, MD

Anusha Yeshokumar, MD
Long-Term Outcomes and Associated Factors in Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Mentors: Nathalie Jette, MD, MSc, and James Sumowski, PhD

 

WFE/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded at 15% by Wishes for Elliott

Ranmal Samarasinghe, MD, PhD
Leveraging Human Brain Organoids for Therapeutics in Epilepsy
University of California, Los Angeles
Mentor: Bennett Novitch, PhD

 

AES/EF Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded in full by the Epilepsy Foundation

Behnaz Esmaeili, MD
Intracranial EEG suppression and heart rate variability in epilepsy
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Mentor: Barbara Dworetzky, MD

 

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Mentored research fellowships with up to $50,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership.

Justin Botterill, PhD
Mossy cells as a therapeutic target in epilepsy
Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. at Nathan Kline Institute
Mentor: Helen Scharfman, PhD

Jose Carlos Gonzalez, PhD
Circadian Control of Seizure Activity by Dentate Gyrus Excitability
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Mentor: Linda Overstreet-Wadiche, PhD

Andrea Hartzell, PhD
MicroRNAs as gatekeepers of pathological circuit dynamics
The Scripps Research Institute
Mentors: Giordano Lippi, PhD, and John Huguenard, PhD

Vanesa Nieto Estevez, PhD
Precision models of ARX-associated genetic epilepsies
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Mentor: Jenny Hsieh, PhD
Supported by the Lennox & Lombroso Trust for Research & Training

Martha Streng, PhD
Mechanisms of cerebellar inhibition of hippocampal seizures
Regents of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Mentor: Esther Krook-Magnuson, PhD
Supported by the Lennox & Lombroso Trust for Research & Training

 

AES/PERF Pediatric Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, jointly funded by AES and the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation

Heather Born, PhD
Impact of early life febrile seizures in genetic model of Angelman syndrome
Baylor College of Medicine
Mentor: Anne Anderson, MD

 

AES/LGSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, supported by the AES Lennox and Lombroso Fund and funded at 10% by the Lennox Gastaut Syndrome Foundation

Zin-Juan Klaft, MD, Doctorate
GluN2D-dependent maturation of cortical interneurons and epilepsy
Tufts University
Mentor: Chris Dulla, PhD
Funded at 10% by the Lennox Gastaut Syndrome Foundation and at 50% by the Lennox and Lombroso Trust for Research and Training

 

Predoctoral Fellowships

Mentored research fellowships with up to $30,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership.

Emily Acton, BS
Anticoagulating Adults with Epilepsy: Risks of AED/DOAC Interactions
University of Pennsylvania
Mentors: Allison Willis, MD, MS, and Michael Gelfand, MD, PhD

Christin Godale, BS
The Role of Raptor in Temporal Lobe Epileptogenesis
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Mentor: Steve Danzer, PhD

Alexandra Petrucci, BS
Post-ictal generalized EEG suppression network and receptor mechanisms
University of Iowa
Mentor: Gordon Buchanan, MD, PhD

Lindsey Shapiro, BS
Investigating the Role of the Cannabinoid 2 Receptor in Epilepsy
Emory University
Mentor: Andrew Escayg, PhD

 

Epilepsy Study Consortium Mini-Grants, funded by ESC and administered by AES

Chris McGraw, MD, PhD
Zebrafish models of refractor epilepsy for anti-epileptic drug discovery
Children’s Hospital Boston

Mauricio Villamar, MD
Response to Antiseizure Medications in Multiple Sclerosis With Epilepsy
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

 

Susan S. Spencer Clinical Research Training Fellowship, 2019-2020

Administered by AAN; jointly funded by the American Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Brain Foundation

Lisseth Burbano, MD
Development of a precision therapy in KCNT1 epileptic encephalopathy
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience

 

A list of past recipients can be viewed here.

 

2019 REVIEWER AND VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION

These early career grants (except for the Susan Spencer Fellowship) are overseen by the AES Research and Training Council, with funding recommendations based upon the proposal review led by the Early Career Grant Review Committee. Basic and clinical co-chairs lead both the review committee and the Research and Training Council. As of the fall of 2018, standing members of the grant review committee were recruited to encompass 15 key fields of research expertise. Additional ad-hoc reviewers are recruited annually to ensure that the reviewer expertise matches that of the proposals submitted.

Thank you to the 49 reviewers who volunteered time and expertise to review a record 173 grant proposals; almost double the 89 proposals submitted in 2018!

 

CO-CHAIRS, EARLY CAREER GRANT REVIEW COMMITTEE

Edward Cooper, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurology, Neuroscience, and Molecular & Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

Jenny Hsieh, PhD
Professor and Director of the Brain Health Consortium
The University of Texas at San Antonio
San Antonio, TX

 

MEMBERS

Angelique Bordey, PhD
Professor of Neurosurgery and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Yale University
New Haven, CT

Gemma Carvill, PhD
Assistant Professor, Neurology, Pharmacology, Pediatrics
Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, IL

Catherine Christian, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL

Robert Hunt, PhD
Assistant Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology
The Regents of the University of California at Irvine
Irvine, CA

Kimberle Jacobs, PhD
Associate Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA

Anli Liu, MD
Assistant Professor, Neurology
NYU Langone Health
New York, NY

Kimford Meador, MD
Professor, Neurology
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Geoffrey Murphy, PhD
Professor, Physiology
The Regents of the University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

William Stacey, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurology
The Regents of the University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Anastasios Tzingounis, PhD
Associate Professor, Physiology & Neurobiology
University of Connecticut
Mansfield, CT

Mingshan Xue, PhD
Assistant Professor, Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

 

AD HOC REVIEWERS

Omar Ahmed, PhD
Assistant Professor, Psychology, Neuroscience & Biomedical Engineering
The Regents of the University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Rafeed Alkawadri, MD
Associate Professor, Neurology
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Jane Allendorfer, PhD
Assistant Professor, Neurology
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

David Auerbach, PhD
Assistant Professor
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Syracuse, NY

Abbas Babajani-Feremi, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Anatomy and Neurobiology
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Memphis, TN

Christine Baca, MD
Associate Professor, Neurology
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, CO

Gregory Bergey, MD
Professor, Neurology
Director, Johns Hopkins Epilepsy Center
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Edward Bertram, MD
Professor, Neurology
University of Virginia Health System
Charlottesville, VA

Laura Borodinsky, PhD
Professor, Physiology and Membrane Biology
University of California Davis School of Medicine
Sacramento, CA 

Amy Brewster, PhD
Assistant Professor, Neuroscience
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN

Lisa Coles, MS, PhD
Associate Director, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacometrics
Regents of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN

Kathryn Davis, MD, MSTR
Assistant Professor, Neurology
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Philadelphia, PA

Annaelle Devergnas, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurology
Director, Neuromodulation Lab, Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Emory University
Atlanta, GA

Monica Dhakar, MD
Assistant Professor, Neurology
Emory School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA

Dennis Dlugos, MD, MSCE
Professor, Neurology
School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Chris Dulla, PhD
Associate Professor, Neuroscience
Tufts University
Medford, MA

Patrick Forcelli, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Physiology, Neuroscience
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

Wayne Frankel, PhD
Professor of Genetics and Development
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY

Jacqueline French, MD
Professor, Neurology
NYU Langone Health
New York, NY

Christina Gross, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH 

John Hablitz, PhD
Professor, Neurobiology
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

Lawrence Hirsh, MD
Professor of Neurology
Yale Medicine
New Haven, CT

John Huguenard, PhD
Professor, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Molecular and Cellular Physiology
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Jennifer Kearney, PhD
Associate Professor, Pharmacology
Northwestern University - Chicago Campus
Chicago, IL

Jong Woo Lee, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

William LaFrance, MD
Professor, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Neurology
Alpert Medical School, Brown University
Providence, RI

Beth Leeman-Markowski, MD
Assistant Professor, Neurology
NYU Langone Health
New York, NY

Stephen Moss, PhD
Professor, Neuroscience
Tufts University
Medford, MA

Daniel Mulkey, PhD
Professor, Physiology and Neurobiology
University of Connecticut
Mansfield, CT

Shalini Narayana, PhD
Associate Professor, Pediatric Neurology
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Memphis, TN

Nicholas Poolos, MD, PhD
Professor, Neurology
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Janet Soul, MD
Associate, Department of Neurology; Director, Fetal-Neonatal Neurology Program
Associate Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Joseph Sullivan, MD
Associate Professor, Neurology
University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine
San Francisco, CA

Tammy Tsuchida, MD, PhD
Neurophysiologist
Neonatal Neurologist
Children's National Medical Center (WDC)
Washington, DC

Janelle Wagner, PhD
Associate Professor, Nursing and Pediatrics
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC

Courtney Wusthoff, MD
Associate Professor, Neurology
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

 

AES STAFF

Penny Dacks, PhD
Director, Research
American Epilepsy Society

Susan Fargo, BA, CIP
Program Coordinator, Research
American Epilepsy Society