The Baraban Lab is interested in the cellular and molecular basis of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a potentially devastating neurological disorder afflicting nearly 2.5 million Americans. While seizures can be controlled with available medications, a large number of epilepsy patients are medically intractable. Disturbances of cortical development (long recognized as a cause of epilepsy in children) are particularly difficult to treat, little understood, and marked by severe cognitive deficits. How seizures develop and how they can be prevented are of particular interest to our laboratory.
In thinking about an epilepsy cure, we are also pursuing genetic and progenitor (stem) cell strategies. These approaches promise to provide new insights into the genetic basis of seizure suppression and/or offer new strategies for cell repair in an epileptic brain.
Many of our studies exploit rodent models of pediatric epilepsy and tissue surgically resected from patients with intractable forms of epilepsy. Zebrafish, a new addition to the laboratory, have expanded our interests in simple vertebrate epilepsy models. We employ a multi-disciplinary experimental approach incorporating electrophysiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, and genetics.