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Epilepsy In and Around Our Nation’s Capital

July 2, 2012

Last Wednesday, in a large, paneled conference room on the campus of the esteemed National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, a number of thought-leaders met around the table to discuss and share research advances and opportunities in epilepsy.  This was the 2nd annual ICARE (Interagency Collaborative to Advance Epilepsy Research) meeting, that brought together representatives from nonprofits, like CURE, as well as the numerous federal agencies who are involved in epilepsy research, like the NINDS, CDC, DOD, VA, and more.

Although I know all too well how slowly change seems to happen when you’re watching your loved one have seizure after seizure, it was truly inspiring to see the leaders of these agencies and organizations all focused on epilepsy.  It feels like our message has finally been heard at new levels–the status quo is no longer acceptable, and increased focus and resources are essential!

Story Landis, PhD (ICARE Chair; Director, NINDS) and Walter Koroshetz, MD (Deputy Director, NINDS) were just two of the prestigious attendees. It’s exciting and encouraging to have such great minds at work on this disease!

Karen Parko, MD (UCSF and Director of the Epilepsy Center, SFVA) and Robert Ruff, MD, PhD (Case Western Reserve University) brainstorming. Nothing gets us more energized than watching the collaboration at meetings like this.

Vicky Whittemore, PhD (Program Director, Epilepsy, NIH/NINDS) and Brandy Fureman, PhD (Program Director, Channels Synapses & Circuits Cluster NIH/NINDS) listening to some of the stimulating discussion.

Doug Meinecke, PhD (Health Scientist Administrator, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)) gave compelling remarks.

The following day, fellow board member Gardiner Lapham and I joined CURE advocate Tammy Haddad at George Washington University to meet with their amazing team of researchers and clinicians who work with patients with epilepsy, and devote their labs to better understanding, treatments and eventual cures.  It was very inspiring to hear about their work and their passion for making true differences for patients!

with Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, PhD (Director, GW Institute for Neuroscience), Gardiner, Donald Shields, M.D, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery), and Heather Russell (Director of Development) at George Washington University

Matt Colonnese, PhD (Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology) graciously showed us his lab.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy July 4th holiday!

 

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