Stanford Surgical Epilepsy Program Research
Our physician-researchers and scientists are pioneers in making discoveries through studying the causes of epilepsy, its surgical treatment options, non-epileptic psychogenic seizures that mimic epilepsy, and innovative methods to treat intractable epilepsy, such as electrical stimulation. They are currently engaged in groundbreaking studies on the causes of epilepsy, the effect of seizures and medications on human cognition and emotion, and developing new wireless devices and electrodes for epilepsy treatment.
Temporal lobe epilepsy is common, frequently refractory to treatment, and devastating to those affected. In the Buckmaster Lab, our long-term goal is to better understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of this disease so that rational and effective therapies can be developed. We use electrophysiological, molecular, and anatomical techniques to evaluate neuronal circuitry in normal and in epileptic brains.
The Brain Interfacing Laboratory is interested in the applicability of brain-machine interfaces as a platform technology for a variety of brain-related medical conditions, particularly stroke and epilepsy. This research spans both preclinical models and human clinical studies.
With respect to epilepsy, we are looking to better characterize and model seizures from patients with refractory epilepsy so that we may provide better treatments. In particular, we are seeking to develop statistical techniques to predict seizures.
Dr. Halpern's lab is a collaborative and joint effort with Dr. Robert Malenka, investigating the effects of neurostimulation in various mouse models of human behavior related to behavioral disinhibition. Obesity is not only one of the largest public health threats in the world, but it also provides a model to examine behavioral disinhibition, manifested by impulse control disorders. In the case of obesity, these present themselves as binge eating and loss of control over eating. However, such impulse control disorders are a common clinical feature in countless neurologic and psychiatric conditions. Dr. Halpern's team of scientists are examining all aspects of translating basic science and experimental findings to the human condition. Initial studies involve applying what has already been learned from epilepsy and closed-loop deep brain stimulation techniques to surprisingly similar disorders of the brain.
The Huguenard Laboratory is interested in identifying structural points within brain circuitry from which epileptic seizures initiate or propagate, determining the microcircuit (cellular and synaptic) mechanisms that promote such seizures, and developing real time interventions that prevent seizure occurrence or spread. We use in in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology and imaging, and complementary computational approaches to address these aims.
The Lee Lab uses interdisciplinary approaches from biology and engineering to analyze, debug, and manipulate systems-level brain circuits. We seek to understand the connectivity and function of these large-scale networks in order to drive the development of new therapies for neurological diseases. This research finds its basic building blocks in areas ranging from medical imaging and signal processing to genetics and molecular biology.
In the Laboratory of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience (LBCN), the general theme of our research is the study of the human brain from clinical and system neuroscience perspective using the tools of intracranial electrocorticography (ECoG), electrical brain stimulation (EBS), and functional imaging (fMRI). The main impetus for our research is to understand the anatomical and physiological signatures of behavioral expression and cognitive experience in humans and how these might be broken in patients with epilepsy. Using our sophisticated research tools, our goal is to help patients with uncontrolled epilepsy to gain seizure freedom without cognitive deficits.
Work in the Prince Lab has focused on normal and abnormal regulation of excitability in neurons of mammalian cerebral cortex and thalamus and mechanisms underlying development and prophylaxis of epilepsy in animal models. Long-term goals are to understand how cortical injury and other pathological processes induce changes in structure and function of neurons and neuronal networks that lead to hyperexcitability and epileptogenesis. With this information, it will be possible to devise experimental strategies to prevent the occurrence of epilepsy after cortical injury and eventually apply them to individuals with significant brain trauma. We have already provided a proof in principal that prophylaxis of posttraumatic epilepsy is possible, using a rat model.
The Ivan Soltesz Lab focuses on the organizational principles neuronal microcircuits, mechanisms of brain rhythms, cannabinoid signaling and the mechanistic bases of circuit dysfunction in epilepsy. We employ closely integrated experimental and theoretical techniques, including the selective modulation of different cell types in various parts of the brain to block seizures in an on-demand manner and ameliorate epilepsy-related cognitive deficits. A major effort in the lab is aimed at constructing highly realistic full-scale models of neuronal circuits in seizure-prone areas of the brain in order to simulate the emergence of normal and epileptic activity patterns with unprecedented biological realism using powerful supercomputers.
Epilepsy Research Programs