UCI epilepsy researcher receives nation's top neuroscience prize


Ivan Soltesz to use $2.7 million Jacob Javits award to study brain-injury tie to epilepsy

Irvine, Calif., May 10, 2005 -- Ivan Soltesz, a UC Irvine School of Medicine neurobiologist who studies epilepsy, has received a Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences, the nation's most prestigious prize for cutting-edge research on brain injuries and illnesses.

A professor of anatomy and neurobiology, Soltesz and his research team will receive $2.7 million over seven years from the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke. With this funding, Soltesz will study the neurological factors behind the higher instances of epilepsy in people who have recovered from severe head trauma, with the hope that the research will lead to new epilepsy treatments.

"I am honored and excited to receive the Javits neuroscience award," Soltesz said. "The award represents a unique opportunity for our laboratory to pursue fundamentally novel research avenues into the mechanisms that underlie post-traumatic epilepsy."

Research in the Soltesz lab focuses on how traumatic brain injury leads to seizures and epilepsy. More than a million people suffer traumatic brain injury in the United States every year, and head injury is the leading cause of death and disability among young adults. It is estimated that the overall economic cost of traumatic brain injury to society approaches $45 billion each year. The Soltesz lab uses a combination of experimental and computational modeling techniques to determine the nature of the key alterations that occur in neuronal circuits following head injury, in order to develop new anti-epileptic treatment strategies.

A native of Hungary, Soltesz received his doctorate in comparative physiology from L. Eotvos University in Budapest and completed postdoctoral research assignments at universities in England, Canada and the U.S. before joining the UCI faculty in 1995. Soltesz, 40, lives in Irvine.

Established in 1983 by the U.S. Congress, the Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences is named in honor of the late U.S. senator from New York, who was a victim of amyotropic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative neurologic disorder also know as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The award is given annually to distinguished researchers who have a record of substantial contributions on the cutting edge of neurological science and can be expected to remain highly productive during the seven-year funding period. Four awards were granted this year to researchers at UCI, UC San Diego, Yale and Harvard. For more information, see www.ninds.nih.gov.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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