UCI epilepsy researcher receives nation's top neuroscience prize

June 20, 2006

Irvine, Calif. -- Dr. Tallie Z. Baram, a UC Irvine School of Medicine neurologist and one of the world's top epilepsy researchers, has received a Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences, the nation's most prestigious prize for cutting-edge research into brain disorders.

Javits awards are given annually by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to recognize researchers whose work is supported by the institute and who have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity. Baram is the ninth UCI researcher to receive this award.

Baram, the Danette "Dee Dee" Shepard Chair in Neurological Sciences, is founder and executive committee chair of UCI's Epilepsy Research Center. As a researcher, she is considered the world's leading investigator of the basic neural mechanisms involved in childhood febrile seizures -- seizures caused by high fever -- and how prolonged febrile seizures might lead to the onset of adult epilepsy.

"Dr. Baram has richly earned this award for her innovative epilepsy research, which is giving us both a better understanding of epilepsy disorders and therapeutic benefits to patients," said Dr. Thomas C. Cesario, dean of the School of Medicine.

Baram's work has defined the molecular changes within brain cells that are caused by early-life febrile seizures. She has studied how fever interacts with the brain to generate seizures, and how brain imaging can define individuals who are at risk for epilepsy after prolonged febrile seizures.

Her research also has helped establish an understanding of the neurobiology behind infantile spasms, a devastating form of epilepsy in infants. Her research on this topic also identifies targets for the design of new and more effective drugs that may help calm these childhood seizures without the side effects of drugs designed for adults.

A native of Israel, Baram earned a doctorate from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and her medical degree from the University of Miami. She has held faculty appointments at the University of Texas at Houston and its M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and at USC, before joining UCI in 1995. In 2002, she founded the UCI Epilepsy Research Center, and she is currently the scientific director of the UCI Comprehensive Epilepsy Program.

In 2005, Baram received the Epilepsy Research Recognition Award from the American Epilepsy Society, the nation's top award for research on this brain disorder.

"This Javits Award affirms the importance of our research on the neurobiology of epilepsy in children" Baram said. "This prestigious award highlights the truly outstanding quality of neuroscience epilepsy research at UCI."

Authorized by the United States Congress in 1983, the award honors the late U.S. Senator Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.), who was a strong advocate for research on a variety of neurological disorders. Senator Javits suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the disabling neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Baram is one of six investigators to receive the Javits Award this year. As part of the award, Baram will receive an additional three years' funding for a current four-year NINDS research grant.

Previous UCI Javits Award recipients are: Edward Jones (1984), Larry Overman (1985 and '92), Dr. Ricardo Miledi (1989), Charles Ribak (1990), John Wasmuth (1991), Arthur Lander (1998), Ivan Soltesz (2005) and Michael Cahalan (2005).
NOTE TO EDITORS: Photo available at http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1490

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

Television: UCI has a broadcast studio available for live or taped interviews. For more information, visit www.today.uci.edu/broadcast.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit www.today.uci.edu/experts.

University of California - Irvine

Related Epilepsy Articles from Brightsurf:

Focal epilepsy often overlooked
Having subtler symptoms, a form of epilepsy that affects only one part of the brain often goes undiagnosed long enough to cause unexpected seizures that contribute to car crashes, a new study finds.

Antibodies in the brain trigger epilepsy
Certain forms of epilepsy are accompanied by inflammation of important brain regions.

Breaching the brain's defense causes epilepsy
Epileptic seizures can happen to anyone. But how do they occur and what initiates such a rapid response?

Using connectomics to understand epilepsy
Abnormalities in structural brain networks and how brain regions communicate may underlie a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, which is one focus of a two-part Special Issue on the Brain Connectome in Brain Connectivity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Epilepsy: Triangular relationship in the brain
When an epileptic seizure occurs in the brain, the nerve cells lose their usual pattern and fire in a very fast rhythm.

How concussions may lead to epilepsy
Researchers have identified a cellular response to repeated concussions that may contribute to seizures in mice like those observed following traumatic brain injury in humans.

Understanding epilepsy in pediatric tumors
A KAIST research team led by Professor Jeong Ho Lee of the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering has recently identified a neuronal BRAF somatic mutation that causes intrinsic epileptogenicity in pediatric brain tumors.

Can medical marijuana help treat intractable epilepsy?
A new British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology review examines the potential of medicinal cannabis -- or medical marijuana -- for helping patients with intractable epilepsy, in which seizures fail to come under control with standard anticonvulsant treatment.

Fertility rates no different for women with epilepsy
'Myth-busting' study among women with no history of infertility finds that those with epilepsy are just as likely to become pregnant as those without.

Do women with epilepsy have similar likelihood of pregnancy?
Women with epilepsy without a history of infertility or related disorders who wanted to become pregnant were about as likely as their peers without epilepsy to become pregnant.

Read More: Epilepsy News and Epilepsy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.