Another major focus of our group is to decode what makes focal regions of human brain epileptic. We have taken a SYSTEMS BIOLOGY and functional genomic approach using novel experimental and bioinformatic technologies to map genes, proteins, and small molecule expression patterns to the electrical abnormalities in human epileptic tissues removed during epilepsy surgery. We have found similarities between focal epileptic regions and normal mechanisms that enhance learning and memory paving the way for the identification of new therapeutic targets in human epilepsy.
Bioengineering collaborations have led to new approaches to map epileptic spikes and seizures, new imaging biomarkers, and new therapeutic ap proaches using animal models of epilepsy with long term video EEG recordings. Through this program, we have developed a collaborative project called the ‘Systems Biology of Epilepsy Project’ now housed in the University of Illinois NeuroRepository to bring together a wide range of physiological, molecular (genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic), and clinical aspects of human epilepsy into a centralized database. This project has led to the development of a larger, University-wide project to create novel, far-reaching data systems that link a wide variety of clinical and scientific data together focusing on the human brain.