This proposal aims to renew support for a Training Program in Epilepsy Research. The overall goals of the
Program are to: (1) Provide Trainees with a broad basic, translational and clinical understanding of Epilepsy
and the approaches for its study. (2) Provide Trainees with the tools to perform top-quality science via
workshops and discussions that address quantitative aspects of research, including study design, statistics,
and reproducibility. These are taught in small groups using problem- solving approaches and Trainee peer-
discussions. (3) Provide Trainees with state of the art scientific training via assignment to diverse modern
laboratories and rigorous implementation of oversight by individualized committees. (4) Provide Trainees with
the knowledge of the diverse facets of Science-related career choices and prepare them for these paths via
career development activities. (5) Facilitate well-being and integration of Trainees from diverse backgrounds by
creating a Training Community where trainees at pre-and postdoctoral level intersect, exchange role models
and advice, and support one another- thus enhancing individual and group success.
The Training Program in Epilepsy Research will accomplish these goals via individualized, committee-
supervised research training in the labs of 14 well-funded and enthusiastic Mentors. Importantly, the training
experience is enriched by program-specific courses, workshops, career-development sessions, Trainee-run
gatherings, mandated presentations, as well as seminars and symposia that draw in the UCI Neuroscience
community and potential trainees. The Training Program in Epilepsy Research thus provides added value to
supported trainees as well as to numerous Trainees who join and benefit from our activities.
Our success to date in achieving our ambitious training goals derives from an outstanding pool of candidates,
and from synergy with the UCI Epilepsy Research Center and the UCI Clinical Epilepsy Program, which
interact to provide a multifaceted Training Experience. These assets are complemented by an open and
interactive research atmosphere, significant resources, and abundant collaborations among Program faculty.
Our approach to Epilepsy as “a Window to Brain Plasticity” promotes both basic and translational approaches
to research on Epilepsy and its cognitive and emotional co-morbidities.
Given the trajectories of academic careers, tangible measures of success of our training approach are
becoming evident as the Training Program in Epilepsy Research is in its 14th year.
Our goal for the coming years of the Program, one of only two Epilepsy-focused T32s in the U.S, are to
capitalize on our success and learn from trainee and faculty input to further enhance the training experience:
(1) From our 5 pre-doctoral Trainees, we have learnt the beneficial effects of pre-postdoc trainee interactions
to both, and request that maintain this structure; (2) We aim to increase MD recruitment (currently 12%), and
that of individuals from diverse backgrounds (currently 17%, a sixth of our Trainees);). (3) We aim to intensify
teaching of the quantitative aspects of research as well as of rigorous research via hands-on sessions
integrated with the CTSA. Thus, the Training Program in Epilepsy will build on its record of launching talented
Neuroscientists, including minority and women into sustainable academic careers, thus enhancing the future
workforce in Neuroscience Research.