Elizabeth Hutchinson Named First Lily's Fund Epilepsy Researcher
Madison, Wisconsin - Lily's Fund for Epilepsy Research and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health today announced the appointment of Dr. Elizabeth Hutchinson as the first Lily's Fund Fellow.
Hutchinson will begin her two-year fellowship on July 1, using magnetic response imaging (MRI) to identify brain markers that may predict seizures in people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Half of the funding for this new research position is provided by private gifts through Lily's Fund.
"Lily's Fund shows the power of citizens coming together around a common concern - the human suffering caused by epilepsy," says Richard Moss, UW School of Medicine and Public Health senior associate dean for basic research, biotechnology and graduate studies.
"The Lily's Fund Fellowship gives talented early-career researchers the resources to work on promising treatments; we are delighted to join with these committed partners to recruit the first Lily's Fund fellow."
Supporting a new research fellowship was the first major goal identified by Lily's Fund, an all-volunteer grassroots organization established three years ago to support and celebrate epilepsy research at UW-Madison. Since then, the organization has worked to raise public awareness of epilepsy, building broader support for research and greater understanding for people who live with the condition.
"We're thrilled to welcome Beth and watch her research a disease long under-funded. And thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers and businesses, we're excited to see goal number one achieved," said Anne Morgan Giroux, lead organizer of Lily's Fund. "But, we're not done. We have a vision that goes beyond one research position. So we will continue to build awareness and raise money."
As many as half of the people who suffer traumatic brain injuries will develop some form of epilepsy. Hutchinson's research will focus on clues that might be derived from MRI that could determine the likelihood of future epilepsy. This might help physicians initiate treatment that could prevent seizures from starting.
Hutchinson will explore these and other scientific issues, working to identify biomarkers and abnormal neural circuitry that occur after a traumatic brain injury. Hutchinson will also test 2DG, a neuroprotector discovered at UW-Madison, to reduce the progression of epilepsy and seizures. Her studies will be with animals, but human tests could follow.
Hutchinson will do research with Dr. Thomas Sutula, chair of neurology, Dr. Paul Rutecki, director of the Frances Forster Epilepsy Center at the William S. Middleton Veterans Administration Hospital, and Dr. Elizabeth Meyerand, chair of biomedical engineering.
Date Published: 06/17/2011