UNT Department of Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Lin Li, Ph.D. gains $720,100 in funding over 4 years from the National Institutes of Health Support for Research Excellence – First Independent Research (SuRE-First) Award.
Li’s research focuses on taking a new approach to epilepsy prevention. Rather than focusing on the analysis of the time from the first symptom to the end of the seizure, this study will collect data on the period before and between seizures.
“About 40% of epilepsy patients fail to control seizures after treatment, and there is currently no treatment that can prevent epilepsy.” Li elaborated, “The goal of this study is to perform multi-scale electrophysiological investigations combined with advanced computational algorithm development to understand the characteristics of the pathological brain networks during the latent period of epilepsy.”
Li chose his research focus by finding harmony among his education, skills, and personal interests, stating “I am a big fan of neuroscience, my Ph.D. training was in brain imaging and computational neuroscience, and my postdoctoral fellowship was in neurology. When I encountered research in serious brain disorders, I saw that my scientific background was a perfect fit. For example, epilepsy is an extreme brain disorder that is considered a network disease. Medical imaging and computational neuroscience tools are very effective in studying brain disease mechanisms.”
In this project, Li and his mentor team, Drs. Anatol Bragin and Jerome Engel, Jr of the University of California, Los Angeles, are searching for effective biomarkers and precise targets to treat the early stages of epilepsy, one of the most complex brain disorders. This translational research will improve understanding of the network mechanisms by which epileptogenesis occurs and help develop new approaches to prevent this pathological process.
*SuRE is a research capacity building program designed to develop and sustain research excellence in U.S. higher education institutions that receive limited NIH research support and serve students from groups underrepresented in biomedical research (see NOT-OD-20-031) with an emphasis on providing students with research opportunities and enriching the research environment at the applicant institutions.
The purpose of SuRE-First awards is to support research grants for faculty investigators who have not had prior independent external research grants.” – National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research.