Voltage-gated sodium channels are foundational to neuronal excitability and mutations in sodium channels are known to cause severe epilepsy syndromes in which patients experience seizures that are difficult to manage and have a substantial risk for sudden unexpected death. My research in the lab of Manoj Patel seeks to clarify how specific sodium channel mutations alter corresponding biophysical properties, neuronal excitability, and ultimately identify the mechanisms underlying spontaneous seizures and sudden death.
Jeremy Thompson, M.S., Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Research in the Harris lab involves understanding how the immune system mounts a response in the brain, typically considered an immune privileged organ. We use the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii to establish a chronic infection in the CNS.