Bronte Epilepsy Research Laboratories


 These Laboratories focus on studying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying epilepsies and conditions related to seizure disorders. The rationale behind this research effort is that a better understanding of basic mechanisms of seizure disorders will lead to the development of better and more effective therapies, and cures. These Laboratories seek to establish collaborations with other UC Davis faculty whose interests and expertise significantly enhance the epilepsy-related research efforts. In addition, the Laboratories serve as a training ground for students and fellows interested in pursuing research and/or clinical careers in the neurobiology/neurology of seizures and related neurological disorders.

Principal Investigators

Philip A. Schwartzkroin, Ph.D.
H. Jurgen Wenzel, M.D., D.Sc.

Funding Sources

The National Institutes Of Health

Epileptogenic Effects of Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia
PI: Philip Schwartzkroin, Ph.D. 

This research studies an animal model of one type of cortical dysplasia (abnormality in maturation of cells within a tissue), called periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH). This condition is most frequently a result of a gene mutation that interferes with normal migration of newborn cells into their proper location in the cortex.  The aim is to gain an understanding of the causal relationship between the structural aspects of these disorders and seizures, and to assess the efficacy of surgical removal (at different times during brain development) as a means of therapy.

Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

Dietary and Activity Treatments for Modulating Post-Traumatic Brain Hyperexcitability
PI: Philip Schwartzkroin, Ph.D. 

In this two-year project, Dr. Schwartzkroin is studying potential protective therapies in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. He is examining the effects of a ketogenic (high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate) diet administered both before and after the brain insult. In addition, because “enriched environment therapies” have been shown to promote the birth of new brain cells, Dr. Schwartzkroin is studying the effects of exposure to such environments. If these simple and inexpensive treatments can reduce the expected brain cell damage associated with traumatic brain injury, and/or prevent the development of abnormal brain excitability, then these therapies could be applied to humans after traumatic brain injury (e.g., soldiers who have received head trauma in conflict).