Epilepsy Research UK is delighted to share the news that ERUK Fellow Dr Gabriele Lignani has received the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Harinarayan Young Neuroscientist Award 2021 for his ERUK-funded research investigating gene therapy and its potential to treat epilepsy.

The Harinarayan Young Neuroscientist Award of ILAE Neurobiology Commission recognises young basic science investigators who work in the field of epilepsy research. Dr Gabriele Lignani is an Epilepsy Research UK Emerging Leader Fellow, based at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London. His research focuses on how gene therapy can be used to rewrite a person’s genetic code and offer a brand-new type of treatment to stop seizures.

On receiving this prestigious award Dr Lignani said:
“Receiving this award is the realisation that what I and the amazing members of my lab are doing is really important and well-received in the international epilepsy community. This means we are on the right path to find effective treatments for patients with epilepsy. I am so grateful to the supporters of Epilepsy Research UK for making this Emerging Leader Fellowship research possible.”

What does this research mean for people living with epilepsy?

Dr Gabriele Lignani has pioneered new ways to precisely treat epileptic brain cells in order to develop more effective gene therapies, taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies such as CRISPR – a powerful gene editing tool (find out more about this Nobel Prize-winning tool here). Dr Lignani’s Emerging Leader Fellowship will finish later this year, and has already showed promising results.  Dr Lignani hopes that gene therapy will soon represent one of the possible treatment options for people whose seizures are not controlled by current treatments.

You can read more about gene therapy and its potential for people with epilepsy in Dr Gabriele Lignani’s Research Blog here.