CURE - Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy It's Time We Found a CURE CURE Epilepsy Research

Program Goal: To advance our understanding of sleep and epilepsy in a way that will ultimately translate to significant help for patients.

CURE’s mission is to cure epilepsy, transforming and saving millions of lives. We identify and fund cutting-edge research, challenging scientists worldwide to collaborate and innovate in pursuit of this goal. Our commitment is unrelenting.

CURE’s Sleep and Epilepsy Award seeks to accelerate promising research into the molecular-, cellular-, and systems-level mechanisms that underlie the relationships between sleep and epilepsy. The award mechanism requires a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach. A researcher (or group of researchers) who understands the epilepsies and the intricacies of treating this group of neurological disorders must collaborate with an investigator, or group of investigators, outside of epilepsy research (e.g., from any sleep-related discipline including, but not limited to, physiology, genetics, chemistry, anesthesiology, and physics). This award has been made possible by the generous support of the BAND Foundation.

Note for Applicants: This cycle is on an accelerated timeline compared to other CURE grant cycles.
Release date: October 27, 2016
Letter of Intent deadline: December 29, 2016 – 9pm ET
Full applications invited: by February 3, 2017
Full application deadline: March 1, 2017 – 9pm ET
Anticipated funding: April 2017

Download the full RFA

The bidirectional relationship between epilepsy and sleep has been known for centuries, and sleep-related epilepsy issues continue to be a major problem for people with epilepsy. There are many ways in which sleep affects seizures and seizures affect sleep, including:

  • One in four with epilepsy experience seizures only at night.
  • Distinct electro-clinical epilepsy syndromes are associated with seizures that occur only at specific times in the sleep/wake cycle (e.g. upon awaking, falling asleep, during periods of daytime drowsiness, etc.).
  • Sleep quality and the restorative functions of sleep are diminished by nighttime seizures and by the ongoing use of anti-seizure medications.
  • Numerous prevalent sleep-associated disorders, often self-treated, are a major issue for people with epilepsy.
  • There is a strong relationship between sleep and Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), with most deaths occurring during sleep. Increased risk of SUDEP is seen in those who experience two or more nocturnal generalized tonic-clonic seizures per year.

Despite extensive clinical observations and experimental investigations, the molecular-, cellular- and systems-level mechanisms that underlie the interplay between sleep and epilepsy are poorly understood. Further research is needed to advance our understanding of sleep and epilepsy.

While our understanding of the biological underpinnings of sleep has rapidly advanced in recent decades, a significant gap exists between the vast knowledge of sleep neurobiology and its application in the care and treatment of people with epilepsy. To address this, CURE has added sleep as a major Priority Area to its research portfolio and has created the CURE Sleep and Epilepsy Award.


This award has three main goals:

  • Accelerate translational, clinical, and clinically informed basic research that will 1) facilitate elevated understanding of the cellular-, molecular-, and systems-level mechanisms which underlie the relationship between sleep and epilepsy and 2) this research must have the potential to one day result in interventions for patients. Priority for this award cycle will be given to research focused on SUDEP but all types of research are welcome.
  • Advance research into the development of relevant animal models to enable real opportunities for translational research
  • Form a multidisciplinary team of epilepsy-sleep researchers that will meet yearly to discuss their CURE-funded work (those funded will be required to attend a CURE-hosted annual meeting and share results with the team).

Requests may be made for up to a total of $220,000 paid over two (2) years. Indirect costs are not supported. CURE plans to fund two awards* this grant cycle. The Sleep and Epilepsy Award will then become a part of the CURE 2017 annual grants program.

*If proposal is approved by scientific reviewers.

The CURE Sleep and Epilepsy Award is available to both established and early-career investigators. * Researchers who serve on CURE’s Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) are ineligible to apply for or sponsor a grant for the duration of their term on the Council. International applicants are welcome. All materials must be submitted in English.

*Generally, early-career investigators are university faculty at assistant professor-level (or hold an equivalent position in a non-university research organization). Established investigators are university faculty at associate professor-level or above. Post-doctoral fellows may not apply for this award.

Inquiries: Questions regarding this RFA are welcome and should be directed to Dr. Tracy Dixon-Salazar, Associate Research Director, at or 312-255-1801.


CURE For questions, please contact Liz Higgins at the CURE office, 312.255.1801, or email

CURE Epilepsy
Related:     Take Action  
The State of Epilepsy

The State of Epilepsy

Read More

Our Researchers

Grant Recipients

Read More

Other Grant Opportunities

Other Grants

Read More

CURE epilepsy

Every Dollar Counts


So Many Ways You Can Help


Get the Facts