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Ana Beatriz DePaula-Silva Named Cure Epilepsy Taking Flight Grantee


Ana Beatriz DePaula-Silva, PhD was named a recipient of the Cure Epilepsy Taking Flight Award for her proposed work on the Gut Microbiota and Derived Metabolites Affect on the Development of Epilepsy. DePaula-Silva is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah.

Cure Epilepsy wrote of the award, "Our grants are awarded for novel research projects that seek to find cures for epilepsy and address the goal of 'no seizures, no side-effects.' Each year, grants are funded based on promising trends in the field and the potential for breakthroughs in a specified area.

"This year’s group of talented grantees will be focusing their research on sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), sleep and epilepsy, acquired epilepsy, pediatrics, and basic mechanisms that provide the foundational understanding of what causes epilepsy."

Below are notes from the press release announcing DePaula-Silva as a grantee.

Inflammation caused by viral infection of the central nervous system is associated with seizures and epilepsy but how inflammation can lead to seizures is not fully understood. Recent studies found that the various bacterial species in the gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, can impact inflammation as well as brain function.

In this project, Dr DePaula-Silva will study a mouse model of epilepsy caused by a viral infection to identify specific gut bacterial populations and molecules produced by the bacteria that may play a role in protecting the animals from seizure development.

If successful, the knowledge obtained from this study will allow for the development of novel therapies, including modification of gut microbiota or of specific molecules, to treat and possibly cure seizures/epilepsy.