Researchers, clinicians,  health professionals and scientists working in the field of epilepsy came together this week for the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Annual Scientific Meeting. Epilepsy Research UK Chair and outgoing ILAE British President Professor Matthew Walker Chaired this year’s conference, which was once again held virtually.

What is the ILAE?

The ILAE is the world’s pre-eminent association of doctors, health professionals and scientists working in the field of epilepsy. It has a world-wide membership, organised regionally with over 100 national chapters in all continents of the world. The goals of the ILAE are to advance and disseminate knowledge about epilepsy, improve services and care for patients, and promote research, education and training.

What were the highlights from this year’s event?

This year’s conference saw an exciting and varied programme, with world-leading researchers presenting their work on a range of fascinating topics such as advances in technology in epilepsy, epilepsy and sleep, seizure control and epilepsy’s effects on memory. We were delighted to see many familiar faces at the event, with 15 Epilepsy Research UK-funded researchers and Scientific Advisory Committee members chairing sessions and discussing findings from their pioneering projects. Professor John Terry presented on his workinvestigating the use of mathematical modelling for epilepsy diagnosis – read more on his work in his Research Blog here. Professor Mark Richardson discussed his ERUK-funded research investigating wearable technology in seizure forecasting. You can read about Professor Richardson’s work with PhD student Andrea Biondi’s in this Research Blog. We also heard from Dr Rhys Thomas, Dr Umesh Vivekanda, Professor Arjune Sen, Professor Torsten Baldeweg, Professor Rohit Shankar and Professor Liam Gray. 

How is Epilepsy Research UK involved in the conference?  

Epilepsy Research UK plays an active part in the conference and runs the Neurobiology of Epilepsy Session each year, during which we hear from shortlisted early career researchers competing for the Céline Newman Neurobiology of Epilepsy Prize. The award is generously sponsored by the Newman family in memory of their daughter. This year we heard from three Epilepsy Research UK Fellows: Dr Sukhvir Wright, Dr Gareth Morris and Dr Vincent Magloire.

We’re delighted to share that Dr Gareth Morris was the recipient of this year’s Céline Newman Neurobiology of Epilepsy Prize. Based at the University College London Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and PharmacologyDr Morris won the award for his presentation on research investigating the use of MicroRNA biosignature as sensors for precision gene therapy, which will also be the focus for his 2021 Epilepsy Research UK Emerging Leader Fellowship project. Huge congratulations to Dr Morris on a thoroughly deserved win! You can read more about his project here