Douglas A. Coulter, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, received the 2010 Epilepsy Research Recognition Award for Basic Science from the American Epilepsy Society. The Society honored Dr. Coulter's pioneering contributions to epilepsy research on Monday, Dec. 6 at its Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
Considered the most prestigious prizes for research in epilepsy, the Epilepsy Research Recognition Awards annually honor active scientists for professional excellence and distinguished research. One award recognizes a basic science investigator, the other a clinical investigator.
The Basic Science Award to Dr. Coulter acknowledges his "highly original and pioneering contributions to the understanding of altered brain cell and circuit function in the development of epilepsy." He has studied a fundamental research questionhow does an injury to neurons ultimately result in the recurrent seizures that characterize epilepsy?
Dr. Coulter has used a variety of approachesphysiological, anatomical and molecularto study the development of epilepsy, both in animal models and in human brains. One technique he has developed in his laboratory is a high-speed imaging method that captures how molecular changes in individual brain cells influence the function of brain signaling networks.
Some of his most recent research has focused on abnormal changes in brain cells called astrocytes reduce inhibition signals in the brain, allowing uncontrolled firing among neurons to give rise to epileptic seizures.
Epilepsy affects an estimated 50 million people, 3 million of them in the United States. It is the third most common neurological disorder, after Alzheimer's disease and stroke.
Dr. Coulter's research has also included studying cellular activities of several anti-epileptic drugs. Coulter said, "The ultimate goal of our research is to help translate detailed knowledge of how epilepsy develops into be
|Contact: John Ascenzi|
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia