Quick Project Snapshot

Neuroanatomical determinants of susceptibility in a model of genetic epilepsy

Epilepsy affects ~1-2% of the population, making it the most common neurological disorder. 50% of all epilepsies are genetic generalized epilepsies (GGE), and currently more than 100.000 Australians live with this disease. These numbers highlight the dire clinical need for better therapy, diagnosis and prognosis. To achieve these goals we need to develop better knowledge of the underlying pathogenic processes. To date, research has focused on acute functional effects of genetic mutations rather than anatomical changes in the brain as GGEs have been traditionally been considered ‘idiopathic’ without any visible changes in brain structure. Recent results, however, indicate that subtle, microscopic alterations in brain anatomy and neuronal connectivity underlie some aspects of seizure genesis. This prompts the question whether we can understand genetic epilepsy if we are ignoring structural changes or assuming they are non-existent?  This project will examine two forms of anatomical change associated with GGE: Microdysgenesis, which refers to changes during brain development, and homeostatic plasticity, which is an adaptive response to the seizures themselves. Anatomical alterations will be analysed in a mouse model carrying a human epilepsy mutation using cutting edge imaging and quantification techniques. Results will improve our understanding of pathogenic mechanisms in GGE with implications for therapy and diagnosis.

Epilepsy

The Florey's Epilepsy division is a world-leading centre for epilepsy research. The division has major groups at both the Florey’s Austin and Parkville campus. The group studies mechanisms that cause epilepsy from the level of cells to the function of the whole brain. We use technologies including advanced MRI and cutting edge cellular physiology techniques to allow us to understand genetic and acquired mechanisms that give rise to epilepsy. Together with our colleagues from The University of Melbourne and across Australia we are working towards finding a cure for epilepsy.

All Labs that operate in this Division

Epilepsy Cognition LaboratoryEpilepsy Neuroinformatics LaboratoryImaging and EpilepsyInnate Phagocytosis LaboratoryIon Channels and Human Diseases LaboratoryNeural Networks LaboratoryNeurophysiology of Excitable Networks LaboratoryPsychology and Experimental NeurophysiologySleep and CognitionTraumatic Brain Injury Laboratory