Research

At the Duke Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (DCEC), in addition to providing the highest quality of care to our patients, we are committed to world class research to treat and cure epilepsy. Our scientific program spans a wide range of topics in three distinct areas: basic, translational, and clinical

Basic Science Researchers

Our basic science research focuses on understanding the origins and mechanisms of epilepsy in the brain. This includes work on the genetic causes of epilepsy as well as understanding the biochemical pathways responsible for epilepsy. We are also using data from patients with epilepsy to improve our basic understanding of how the brain works.

Assistant Professor in Neurology
Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience

Translational Science Researchers

Our translational work focuses on developing advanced tools to diagnose, treat, and cure epilepsy. This includes work on biomarkers in the blood to help with the diagnosis and classification of epilepsy and advanced imaging techniques to help identify parts of the brain responsible for seizures  We are also currently developing new electrode technologies to better identify seizure onset zones for surgery and tools to modulate brain activity to prevent seizures 

Assistant Professor in Neurology
Medical Instructor in the Department of Neurology
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Clinical Researchers

Our clinical work investigates new techniques for the analysis of EEG and other data from patients with epilepsy, new drugs and devices for treatment of epilepsy, as well as quality and process improvements for a better quality of care for patients. The overall goal of the research program of the DCEC is to provide more extensive and better treatment opportunities for patients suffering from epilepsy.

To find information about clinical trials being done at Duke, please go to Clinicaltrials.gov

Labs Associated with the DCEC

The Cogan Lab

The Cogan Lab studies speech, language, and cognition using invasive electrophysiological recordings (ECoG, SEEG, µECoG).

Grill Lab

We use engineering approaches to understand and control neural function. Our research and development efforts are focused on devices that use electrical activation of the nervous system to restore function to individuals with neurological impairment.

Southwell Lab

Our research group seeks to improve the treatment of neurologic diseases and injuries.  We study the development and function of neurons, one of the cellular components of brain circuits, as well as the neural signals that brain circuits produce. 

Viventi Lab

Our research applies innovations in flexible electronics to create new technology for interfacing with the brain at a much finer scale and with broader coverage than previously possible. We create new tools for neuroscience research and technology to diagnose and treat neurological disorders, such as epilepsy.

McNamara Lab

The goal of this laboratory is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis, the process by which a normal brain becomes epileptic.  The epilepsies constitute a group of common, serious neurological disorders, among which temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most prevalent and devastating. 

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Generic Image

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Summer 2022

Featuring:

  • Is Best Always Best? Patients' Preferences for Treatment Alternatives for Drug-resistant focal epilepsy by Shelby Reed, PhD, RPh, Professor of Population Health Sciences, Duke University

  • Brain Stimulation and Cognition in Epilepsy by Barbara C. Jobst, MD, Chair and Professor of Neurology, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Spring 2022

Featuring:

  • EEG Source Imaging (ESI): Source modeling basics and more by Prachi T. Parikh, MD Assistant Professor of Neurology Duke University

  • Epileptiform activity at the microscale by Sydney S. Cash, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Neurology Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Winter 2021

Featuring:

  • Using Dynamical Network Models to Derive Interictal and Ictal Biomarkers of the Epileptogenic Zone from Intracranial EEG Data by Sridevi V. Sarma, PhD Associate Professor Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

  • Non-invasive optical detection of brain activity using parallelized diffuse correlation spectroscopy by Roarke W. Horstmeyer, PhD Assistant Professor Biomedical Engineering, Duke University

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Fall 2021

Featuring:

  • How refractory epilepsy patients with SEEG implants help in advancing the science of dose individualization in neuromodulation by Pratik Chhatbar, MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Neurology Department of Neurology Duke University 
  • Adding some science to the art of EEG: classifying seizure Dynamotypes by William Stacey, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Neurology and Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan 

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Summer 2021

Featuring:

  • Research and New Therapies in Epilepsy by Jacqueline French, MD Professor of Neurology NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
  • The Measure by which you Measure: Quality of life and Quality of Care in Epilepsy by Matthew Luedke, MD Division Chief, Hospital Neurology Assistant Professor of Neurology Duke University

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Spring 2021

Featuring:

  • Beyond the focus – Why networks matter in temporal lobe epilepsy by Vicky Morgan, Ph.D. Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences Vanderbilt Universit

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Winter 2020

Featuring:

  • Localizing epilepsy "hotspots" with quantitative neuroimaging by Kathryn Adamiak Davis, M.D., M.S.T.R. Assistant Professor of Neurology University of Pennsylvania
  • Using Ultrahigh-Resolution Diffusion MRI to Localize Seizure Foci in Patients with Intractable Epilepsy by Iain Bruce, PhD Medical Instructor Duke Department of Neurology

DCEC Quarterly Research Symposium Fall 2020

Featuring:

  • Automating Clinical Neurophysiology by M. Brandon Westover, MD, PhD Associate Professor of Neurology  Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • Augmented reality in epilepsy surgery and clinical application of source localization by Muhammad Zafar, MBBS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Duke University