Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Neurobiology and Behavior

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Epilepsy is a heterogeneous brain disease that may be best regarded as a group of related diseases and/or disorders that share one fundamental characteristic, that is, the occurrence of spontaneous seizures. Together, the various forms of epilepsy represent one of the most common brain dysfunctions in humans with estimates in the general population defining the frequency at around 1 in 100 individuals. From an etiological perspective, the epilepsies are viewed as a multifactorial group of illnesses in that they arise due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Thus, in order to elucidate the pathogenesis of recurrent seizures in epilepsy, research efforts must address both the underlying biological and genetic substrates of susceptibility as well as the environmental signals that trigger seizures.

CNB investigators are involved in epilepsy research on several levels consistent with the mission of the Center to foster inter-disciplinary neurobiological research that emphasizes clinically-relevant basic science studies. Multiple approaches to the study of epilepsy are utilized by researchers in the CNB including the development and analysis of animal models in which molecular mechanisms may be evaluated and hypotheses tested. Direct translation of primary laboratory research on models of human epilepsy into clinical studies involving epilepsy patients is also an important aspect of CNB efforts in epilepsy research. Overall, CNB research programs in epilepsy support an integrated and comprehensive systems approach to better understand the nature of this group of diseases and to promote the development of new treatments.

Information for families and further information about research in the epilepsies can be found on the website of the American Epilepsy Society (

Investigators involved in this area:


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