Paul Getty III Professor in Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common condition in which epileptic seizures repeatedly interrupt normal life, usually in an unpredictable manner. Many people with epilepsy therefore live in constant fear of their next seizure. We are investigating (1) why the brain of a person with epilepsy can suddenly switch from normal activity to an epileptic seizure, and (2) why the seizure starts at a particular moment. We are investigating the first question in people with epilepsy using brain scanning techniques (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG, a method to record electrical activity from the brain), as well as transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS). Using these data, we can investigate how seizures emerge as the result of the complex interplay between the neuronal dynamics of localised brain regions, and the interconnectivity between these regions; and how these brain networks are altered by treatment. We are investigating the second question using wearable and implantable physiological sensors, which people with epilepsy use for months, from which we can detect seizures and develop methods to predict or forecast when the next seizure will occur. We collaborate closely with investigators in the Centre who are investigating similar questions in zebrafish models of epileptic seizures.