Mark Cook, University of Melbourne
Director of the Graeme Clark Institute, and Sir John Eccles Chair of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne. Mark also directs the Department of Neurology, St. Vincent's Hospital, with both clinical and administrative responsibilities. He spends 1 day weekly in clinical practice. Mark's specific scientific and clinical expertise has created a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in developing translational research to the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Mark's aim has been to develop a basic and translational research program focused on epilepsy and other neurological diseases to drive the development of collaborative clinical research infrastructure that crosses disciplines. His objectives have included the development of new and innovative imaging processes, basic cell biology in epilepsy and the neurophysiology of epilepsy. Over the last 5 years they have made significant inroads into developing therapeutic electrical stimulation strategies for the treatment of epilepsy, of proven effect in animal models and now being explored in humans. In addition, large groups of physical scientists have been brought into human and animal research, and further developing these links is a key aim. This has been achieved not only through the main work of Mark's laboratory but also through increased collaboration with other University of Melbourne based research groups, supported by Australian Research Council (ARC) and National and Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding. Insights and therapies developed through Mark's research have been translated into practice now, and by utilizing a diverse group of collaborators to enhance the translation of developing research outcomes into health practice, leveraging existing but isolated national resources to create an internationally competitive, clinically- focused research infrastructure.
Kathryn Davis, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Davis is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the medical director of Penn’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and Epilepsy Surgical Program. The Davis Lab focuses on the evaluation and clinical translation of novel methods for localizing and characterizing seizure foci. Her work utilizes both the advancing fields of multimodality neuroimaging in addition to electrophysiology with an ultimate goal of improving the treatment of epilepsy patients.
Bruce Gluckman, Penn State University
Bruce Gluckman earned his BS (1988) in Engineering Physics from the Universality of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his Ph.D. in Experimental at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he studied nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation with Jerry Gollub of Haverford College. He was appointed as postdoctoral fellow with the Naval Surface Warfare Center to study the control of low dimensional chaotic systems and its application to biological systems with Mark Spano. In 1997 he joined the Children’s Research Institute of Children’s National Medical Center and the George Washington University as a Research Assistant Professor to study the effects of electric fields on neural systems. Professor Gluckman joined the faculty at George Mason University in 1998 as Assistant Professor with appointments in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, and as a founding member of the Center for Neural Dynamics. In 2006, he joined Penn State University as the founding Associate Director of the Center for Neural Engineering (CNE), with appointments as Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) (tenured) and in the Department of Neurosurgery. In 2013 Gluckman was appointed Honorary Professor, Kings College, University of Aberdeen, UK. Dr. Gluckman’s initial research spanned the physics field of nonlinear dynamics to include both pattern formation and mixing in fluid systems – phenomena in which the complexity of a nearly infinite dimensional system contracts to a lower-dimensional manifold we call a pattern – as well analysis and control of low-dimensional chaotic systems – systems for which the complexity of the dynamics is higher than might be expected from their degrees of freedom. In this work he focused both on the development of novel measurement, analysis and control techniques and fostered a strong linkage between data analysis and the physics involved in measurement. Dr. Gluckman carried these approaches to his work in neural systems and the control of epilepsy, where he has focused on understanding the generation of organized activity in neural systems, the details of how to measure and interact with such systems, and how to link models – both theoretical and computational – to experiment.
Khalid Hamandi, Cardiff University Brain Imaging Research Centre and University Hospital of Wales
Khalid Hamandi qualified in medicine in 1994 from St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London. He trained in neurology and epilepsy in Bristol and London. He gained his PhD from UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, on simultaneous EEG-fMRI in epilepsy. He was appointed consultant neurologist at University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in 2006 with a specialist interest in epilepsy. He manages a busy clinical epilepsy service, with a focus on complex epilepsy, brain imaging, and epilepsy pre-surgical evaluation. He is research active in a number of areas. He leads a programme of imaging research in epilepsy at CUBRIC (Cardiff University Brain Imaging Research Centre) using advanced brain imaging methods, MRI and MEG to study epilepsy, and was awarded Honorary Chair at Cardiff University in 2018.
Viktor Jirsa, Aix-Marseille université
Director of the Institute de Neurosciences des Systèmes and Director of Research at the CNRS. Since the late 90s he has made contributions to the understanding of how network structure constrains the emergence of functional dynamics using methods from nonlinear dynamic system theory and computational neuroscience. Dr. Jirsa has been awarded several international and national awards for his research including the Early Career Distinguished Scholar Award in 2004 and the Francois Erbsmann Prize in 2001. He serves on various Editorial Boards and has published more than 80 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as co-edited several books including the Handbook of Brain Connectivity.
Diagnosed in 1990 aged 14 with 'absence seizures’ gradually developing into Idiopathic Generalise Tonic Clonic Seizures, Lottie struggled to control the seizures with medications. In 2012 the seizures worsened following a blood clot to the brain having suffered a major seizure. Brain surgery was deemed inappropriate and the VNS (Vagal Nerve Stimulator) was suggested and duly inserted in August 2014.
Lottie currently works as a Medical Administrator for the Oncology Department of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. She is also an Accredited Volunteer for Epilepsy Action. She is married and has a teenage daughter.
Neil and Hannah Parker
Neil was possibly misdiagnosed with only epileptic seizures at 9 years old. While suffering from psychogenic and epileptic seizures Neil has studied, worked and raised a family with his wife and carer Hannah. It has taken 41 years for them to obtain a confirmed diagnosis. Seizures and medication have significantly impacted Neil's education, work, career, family, friendships and mobility. The condition has seriously affected the physical and mental health of both Neil and Hannah. They will tell you their story which they hope will strike a chord with sufferers and carers and will enlighten medical professionals and researchers to the realities of living with psychogenic and epileptic seizures.
Diagnosed with Idiopathic generalised seizures aged 14, Simon has spent much of the last 23 years fighting to control his epilepsy. Various changes of meds have seen him stable for periods, most recently for almost three years until an attack in March. Simon has worked with epilepsy charities and University departments to keep epilepsy research engaged with those with lived experience, whilst also running support groups for people with epilepsy. Simon’s full time employment is as a caterer but believes his true calling is helping others to overcome their diagnosis.
Mark Richardson, King’s College London
Prof. Richardson is a neurologist with a specialist interest in epilepsy, particularly the role of large-scale brain networks in generating epileptic seizures and cognitive co-morbidities. His current research program is primarily focused on large-scale brain network dynamics in epilepsy, particularly: the interplay between brain network structure and excitability in the generation of seizures, especially the role of thalamus and other subcortical structures; and characterizing inherited endophenotypes of brain network structure and dynamics in people with epilepsy and their unaffected relatives. More recently, I have developed a program of work in remote monitoring in epilepsy using multimodal sensing technology.
Torie Robinson, Epilepsy Sparks
Torie Robinson is a Public Speaker regarding Epilepsy & Mental Health, and the CEO & Founder of Epilepsy Sparks. Bridging the communication gap between neurologists, scientists, researchers, neuropsychologists, patients, families, friends and employers; Torie’s purpose is to empower those affected by epilepsy through education.
Torie speaks at hospital and university conferences, at charity events, in UK Parliament and at corporates such as Google and CBSi. Torie also writes for blogs including Epilepsy Sparks, Medium, Illinois Science and more.
A Trustee for the charity known as Epilepsy Action, on the Scientific Advisory Board for Epilepsy Research UK, and Advocate for the EU EpiCARE, Torie provides patient perspective for key decisions made.
Diagnosed with epilepsy aged 10, Torie’s seizures and mental health worsened over the years. As the result of her refractory epilepsy and with a decreasing quality of life and an increasing risk of SUDEP, Torie had a temporal lobectomy in 2013. Now on reduced dosages of AEDs and with an increased life expectancy, Torie devotes her life and career to bettering the lives of others affected by epilepsy and mental health comorbidities.
Catherine Schevon, Columbia University
Dr. Schevon is Associate Professor of Neurology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Prior to her medical training, she studied electrical engineering and computer science, and worked in VLSI design at AT&T Bell Laboratories. She attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed an epilepsy fellowship at Columbia in 2004. Dr. Schevon's research focuses on linking the cellular processes that occur during seizures to their expression in microelectrode and clinical EEG recordings, in order to inform the clinical process of seizure localization.
Paddy Ssetnongo, Penn State University
Dr. Ssentongo acquired considerable expertise in the treatment of neurological conditions, like epilepsy and hydrocephalus, serving early in his career as a physician in pediatric neurosurgery at CURE Children’s Hospital in Uganda. During this period, he spent time in the community treating and creating awareness of epilepsy, hydrocephalus and neural tube defects. Following this, he joined Penn State University and completed a 3-year post-doctoral training, leading to the development of the-first-of-a-kind animal model of post-malarial epilepsy and SUDEP. Today Dr. Ssentongo is an assistant professor with a research focus on understanding the neural consequences of infectious diseases in Africa.
Fabrice Wendling, Université de Rennes
Prof. Wendling is a research director at Inserm (French NIH) leading the “Epileptogenic Systems: Signals and Models” research team. He has developed advanced diagnostic methods based on nonlinear dynamics and electrophysiological signal processing. He has always been deeply involved in the search for mechanisms underlying epileptic activity. To this aim, he has developed pioneering models of epileptiform activity specifically adapted to the cellular organization of brain structures involved in partial epilepsies. Some of these models are being used worldwide to analyze epileptic signals. He has also significantly contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the generation of epileptic events and novel therapeutic procedures, in particular based on electrical stimulation.