The Department of Neurology complements its leading clinical expertise in evaluation and treatment of intractable epilepsy as part of the UC Davis Comprehensive Epilepsy Program with a strong basic science research program aimed at developing new drugs that will make fewer cases of epilepsy untreatable.

Department researchers conduct laboratory research using both cell cultures and animal models to examine how anti-epileptic drugs work at the cellular level and to discover novel approaches to blocking seizures.

Some of the new approaches being investigated include:

  • Delivery of anti-convulsive toxins delivered directly into the brain region, called convection-enhanced delivery (CED). These toxins are also being tested by other for the treatment of brain tumors.
  • A genetic approach that attempts to bypass defective genes responsible for causing some seizures.
  • Researchers are looking at the body’s own ability to fend off seizures, especially through neuroactive steroids, and the potential use of these steroids as treatments for adult partial seizures.
  • The use of the ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, for the control of intractable seizures, especially in children.
  • New drug treatment for status epilepticus, a life-threatening condition in which the brain is in constant seizure. The therapy looks at a novel drug target called AMPA.

Research is conducted at the Center for Neuroscience on the Davis campus.