Epilepsy Therapy Project and Milken Family Foundation Announce Recipients of Inaugural Young Investigator Awards

Nov 10, 2011, 08:50 ET from Epilepsy Therapy Project

Grant New UCLA Fellowships for Groundbreaking Pediatric and Adult Epilepsy Research

WASHINGTON and SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Epilepsy Therapy Project (ETP), a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate new therapies for people living with epilepsy and seizures, and the Milken Family Foundation, which helps to support basic and applied medical research especially in the areas of epilepsy and cancer, today announced the recipients of the organizations' new Young Investigator Awards, two three-year fellowships for pediatric and adult epilepsy research programs at the UCLA Department of Neurology. 

Shaun Hussain, M.D., M.S., Pediatric Epilepsy Fellow, Division of Pediatric Neurology, Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA, will conduct the Pediatric Epilepsy Fellowship for his research in causes and optimal treatments for uncontrolled seizures in children.  Rohit Ajay Marawar M.D., M.S., fellow in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology at the Seizure Disorder Center, UCLA, will hold the Adult Epilepsy Fellowship for his research in mapping and classifying the physiological characteristics of epilepsy conditions. 

"As the first recipients of the ETP and Milken Family Foundation Young Investigator Awards, Drs. Marawar and Hussain are undertaking important research with the potential to open up new frontiers in our understanding of how to treat and even prevent the onset of seizures in adults and children.  The ability to identify and characterize epileptic networks in the entire brain exemplifies new directions in the field," said Jerome Engel, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Director, Seizure Disorder Center, Reed Neurological Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. 

Dr. Hussain's research focuses on the use of electroencephalography and electrocorticography (techniques for measuring brain waves) to determine the causes and optimal treatments for uncontrolled seizures in children.  Among his current research endeavors are: (1) a trial of oral diazepam for treatment of electrical status epilepticus in sleep among children with Landau Kleffner Syndrome; (2) a comparison of high-dose prednisolone and corticotropin for treatment of infantile spasms; and (3) an observational study to determine whether the presence of fast ripples, a pattern seen with electroencephalography and electrocorticography, predicts seizure-freedom after epilepsy surgery in children.

Dr. Hussain attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York where he earned a medical degree with distinction for epilepsy research, and received additional training in biostatistics and epidemiology.  His interest in pediatric epilepsy care and research led him to University of California, Los Angeles, where he completed residency and fellowship training in general pediatrics, adult neurology, pediatric neurology and clinical neurophysiology.

Dr. Marawar is participating in a project based in the UCLA Seizure Disorder Center and Brain Mapping Center that is investigating the essential anatomy of epilepsy to allow more accurate classification and thereby more precise therapy trials and more effective surgical treatments.  The conventional approach to epilepsy and seizure classification is to divide both into either focal (partial) or generalized seizures and then localize the focal seizures to one brain region whenever possible.  New methodologies for brain imaging are now providing us an opportunity to move this understanding of both epilepsy and seizures to an entirely new level.  With resting state functional MRI, three dimensional maps of brain activity may be generated repeatedly and without risk.  These maps can complement EEG results and provide radical new insights into the regions involved in both seizure occurrence and the epileptic state between seizures.

Dr. Marawar's past projects in this field have looked into utility of repeat admissions for long-term video EEG monitoring, psychiatric complications in pediatric seizures and pharmacokinetics of anti-seizure drugs.  Dr. Marawar came to UCLA after completing his residency in Neurology at Albany Medical Center, Albany, New York, M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, and MBBS from Government Medical College and Hospital, Nagpur, India.   

"Drs. Hussain and Marawar are representative of a new cadre of distinguished academic researchers and investigators who are furthering our understanding of the science and novel approaches to addressing epilepsy," said Howard Soule, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Chief Science Officer, Milken Family Foundation.  "The Milken Family Foundation is proud to contribute critical resources for the training of bright and creative physicians who have great potential to improve the lives of people with epilepsy."

"This new fellowship program furthers the Epilepsy Therapy Project's collaboration with The Milken Family Foundation and embodies our mutual mission of investing in the future of epilepsy care," said Warren Lammert, ETP Founder and Chairman.  "These fellowships recognize the grave need to speed research and important discoveries in the treatment of epilepsy.  Side-effects of existing medications including fatigue, nausea and other complications are unacceptable, and more than 30% of people with epilepsy live with uncontrolled seizures."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

About the Milken Family Foundation                                                                                                               
The purpose of the Milken Family Foundation is to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives.  The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research.  In medical research, the Foundation is committed to:

  • Advancing and supporting basic and applied medical research–especially in the areas of epilepsy and cancer–and recognizing and rewarding outstanding scientists in these areas.
  • Supporting basic health care programs to assure the well-being of community members of all ages.

About the Epilepsy Therapy Project                                                                                                              
The Epilepsy Therapy Project is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate ideas into therapies for people living with epilepsy and seizures.  Founded in 2002 by a group of parents, distinguished physicians, and researchers, the Epilepsy Therapy Project supports the commercialization of new therapies through direct grants and investments in promising academic and commercial projects.  For more information about epilepsy, epilepsy treatment and the epilepsy pipeline, please visit our website www.epilepsy.com or call 540.687.8077.                                                     


SOURCE Epilepsy Therapy Project