Jul 6, 2021

American Epilepsy Society Awards $1.06 Million in Epilepsy Research Grants

Twenty-six early career scientists honored as 2021 fellowship awardees

View More Press Releases

Press Release



CHICAGO, IL (July 6, 2021) - The American Epilepsy Society (AES) announced today that it has awarded $1.06 million in epilepsy research grants and fellowships to twenty-six early career scientists committed to studying epilepsy.

“It is always a proud and inspiring moment to announce our latest grantees,” says Douglas A. Coulter, PhD, President of the American Epilepsy Society. “Advancing epilepsy research is one of the pillars of our work at the American Epilepsy Society, as is nurturing the careers of talented professionals. This year’s inclusive, cross-disciplinary group of impressive early career scientists—combined with grantees from previous years—promises to fuel advances in epilepsy prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in years to come.”

AES research dollars support trainees, fellows, and newly independent investigators working across the full spectrum of epilepsy research, from basic science through translational and clinical research for all types of epilepsy, seizures, and related conditions. Applications are reviewed through a rigorous process built using national standards for assessment of research requests. AES member volunteers conduct the review and select the awardees.


Grants are supported in part by philanthropic gifts and bequests to the Lennox and Lombroso Fund for Research and Training and the Susan S. Spencer Fund for Clinical Research and Education. In addition, several nonprofit organizations and industry supporters provide full or partial funding of specific grants. Please join AES in thanking:

  • Epilepsy Foundation  (one award in full)
  • Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation (co-funding of one award)
  • PCDH19 Alliance (co-funding of one award)
  • Wishes for Elliott (co-funding of one award)
  • Epilepsy Study Consortium (full funding of two mini-grants)
  • American Brain Foundation and Epilepsy Foundation, in collaboration with American Academy of Neurology for support of the Susan Spencer Clinical Research Training Scholarship

The American Epilepsy Society 2020 Early Career Fellowship Awardees are:

Junior Investigator Awards 
$50,000 for newly independent investigators to support the direct costs of research, along with one year of AES membership. 

Isamu Aiba, PhD 
Spreading depolarizations contribute to epilepsy comorbidities 
Baylor College of Medicine 

Kimberly Aldinger, PhD 
Functional characterization of MAST4 variants 
Seattle Children’s Hospital 

Allyson Alexander, MD, PhD 
MTOR Pathway Dysfunction and Hub Cells in Focal Cortical Dysplasia 
University of Colorado, Denver 

Roni Dhaher, PhD 
Modulating the relief from anhedonia and seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy 
Yale University 

Laura Ewell, PhD 
Lateralization in mouse temporal lobe epilepsy 
University of California, Irvine 

AES/EF Junior Investigator Award, funded in full by the Epilepsy Foundation 
Churl-Su Kwon, MD, MPH 
Disparities in epilepsy surgery quality of care and access to care 
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai  

Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians 

Mentored support for clinical fellows or junior clinical faculty with up to $50,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership. 

Brad Kamitaki, MD 
Addressing Barriers to Comprehensive Epilepsy Care: A Mixed-Methods Study Rutgers University 
Mentor: Joel Cantor, ScD; Haiqun Lin MD, PhD; and Hyunmi Choi MD 

Joshua LaRocque, MD PhD 
Exploring the neural basis of naming impairment in patients with epilepsy 
University of Wisconsin- Madison and New York University 
Mentors: Anli Liu, MD; Adeen Flinker, PhD; Aaron Struck, MD; and Orrin Devinsky, MD 

Sheela Toprani, MD, PhD 
Network-targeted therapy for epilepsy and neuropsychological comorbidities 
University of California, Davis 
Mentors: Kimford Meador, MD; Amy Brooks-Kayal, MD; and Karen Anne Moxon, PhD 
*Contracting still in progress 

PERF/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded at 50% by PERF 
Amanda Sandoval Karamian, MD 
White matter microstructural abnormalities in neonatal genetic epilepsy 
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 
Mentor: Nicholas Abend, MD and Hao Huang PhD 


PCHD19 Alliance/AES Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians, funded at 40% by PCDH19 Alliance 
Julie Ziobro, MD PhD 
Mechanisms of PCDH19 clustering epilepsy 
University of Michigan 
Mentor: Jack Parent, MD 


Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 
Mentored research fellowships with up to $50,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership. 
Michelle Kloc, PhD 
Cholinergic modulation of CA1 signaling in Febrile Status Epilepticus 
University of Vermont 
Mentor: Gregory Holmes, MD 

Frederic Schaper, MD PhD 
Network mapping of focal epilepsy using lesions and deep brain stimulation 
Brigham and Women’s Hospital 
Mentor: Michael Fox, MD, PhD and Ellen Bubrick, MD 

Alena Stasenko, PhD 
Improving pre-surgical language assessment in bilinguals with epilepsy 
University of California, San Diego 
Mentor: Carrie McDonald, PhD 
*Contracting still in progress 

Yusuke Takezawa, MD, PhD 
Calcium overload and cell swelling during hypoxia in the neonatal brain 
University of Iowa 
Mentor:  Joseph Glykys, MD, PhD 

William Tobin, PhD 
Determinants of Cortical Interneuron Dysfunction in KCNT1-Related Epilepsy 
University of Vermont 
Mentor: Matthew Weston, PhD 


AES Predoctoral Research Fellowships 
Mentored research fellowships with up to $30,000 for stipend and travel support, along with one year of AES membership. 

Michael Granovetter, MS, AB 
Neuroplasticity of the visual system following temporal cortical resection 
Carnegie Mellon University 
Mentor: Marlene Behrmann, PhD and Christina Patterson, MD

Darian Hadjiabadi, MS 
Cellular pathways underlying pathological high-frequency oscillations 
Stanford University  
Mentor: Ivan Soltesz, PhD 

Segewkal Hawaze Heruye, MS, BPharm 
Targeting ROS-dependent synaptic dysfunction and cognitive deficits in TLE 
Creighton University 
Mentors: Timothy Simeone, PhD and Kristina Simeone, PhD 

Rachael Ryner, BS 
Aberrant Wnt signaling disrupts inhibitory networks in mouse model of IS 
Tufts University 
Mentor: Chris Dulla, PhD 

James Sun, BA 
Intraoperative recording in epilepsy with a high-density ECoG array 
New York University School of Medicine 
Mentors: Bijan Pesaran, PhD and Daniel Friedman, MD 

Wanqi Wang, MA 
Axon function in the pathogenesis of ARHGEF9 epileptic encephalopathy 
Columbia University 
Mentor: Wayne Frankel, PhD 
*contracting still in progress 

AES/Wishes for Elliott Predoctoral Research Fellowship, co-funded at 15% by WFE 
Timothy Abreo, BS 
Characterization of gene modifiers in a mouse model of epilepsy 
Baylor College of Medicine 
Mentor: Edward Cooper, MD, PhD 

Epilepsy Study Consortium Mini-Grants, funded by ESC and administered by AES 
Alexander Arnold, MD 
Using Online Seizure Diaries to Compare Antiepileptic Drug Efficacy 
University of Washington 
Mentor: Nick Poolos, MD, PhD 
*contracting still in progress 

Stephanie Reeder, MD 
Use of Lacosamide (LCS) in Elderly Patients with Epilepsy 
University of Minnesota 
Mentors: Sima Patel, MD; Angela Birnbaum, PhD; and Ilo Leppik, MD 


Susan S Spencer Clinical Research Training Fellowship, 2021-2023 
Funded by the American Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology 

Samuel Terman, MD 
Seizure risk predication after antiseizure medication discontinuation in patients with 
well-controlled epilepsy: randomized trial reanalysis and pooling  
University of Michigan 
Mentors: James Burke, MD, MS and Jack Parent MD


Davis Renzelmann
Public Communications Inc.

About the American Epilepsy Society

Founded in 1936, the American Epilepsy Society (AES) is a medical and scientific society whose members are dedicated to advancing research and education for preventing, treating and curing epilepsy. AES is an inclusive global forum where professionals from academia, private practice, not-for-profit, government and industry can learn, share and grow to eradicate epilepsy and its consequences.