Speakers

Jack M. Parent 
University of Michigan/Ann Arbor, MI

Jack M. Parent, MD received an A.B. with distinction in Human Biology at Stanford University and his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine. He completed medical internship, neurology residency, clinical epilepsy fellowship, and post-doctoral training in neuroscience research at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2000, he joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan, where he established the Neurodevelopment and Regeneration Laboratory and currently is Professor of Neurology and co-director of the Epilepsy Division. 
Dr. Parent’s research focuses on the fields of stem cell biology, epilepsy and regeneration after stroke and other brain injuries. He has received several awards for his research, including a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Award, a Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award from the American Academy of Neurology, and a Grass Foundation Award in Neuroscience from the American Neurological Association. Dr. Parent serves on the Board of the American Epilepsy Society and as Secretary of the American Neurological Association, and he chairs the scientific advisory board of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation. He is also an Associate Editor of Epilepsy Currents and Frontiers in Neurogenesis, is the Epilepsy Section Editor of Experimental Neurology and is on the editorial boards of Stem Cells International and Brain Plasticity.

Claudia Compagnucci

Researcher at Bambino Gesù Children's Research Hospital, IRCCS (Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders, Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Department of Neurosciences lead by Dr Enrico Bertini) working on induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models of neuronal differentiation and in vivo treatment.

Giuseppe Biagini 

Giuseppe Biagini is Associate Professor of Physiology at the Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy). He received his M.D. degree and then the specialization in Endocrinology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Following a period of two years at the Montreal Neurological Institute – McGill University, the research activity of Dr. Biagini has been focused on epilepsy, in particular on the role of the hippocampus and parahippocampal cortices in sustaining seizures in the limbic system. Main achievements of Dr. Biagini research activities in the field of epilepsy are: i. the reported role of neurosteroids in delaying epileptogenesis in the pilocarpine model of temporal lobe epilepsy; ii. the characterization of the anticonvulsant properties of ghrelin analogs in animal models; iii. the description of ischemic/hypoxic mechanisms participating to the progression of temporal lobe epilepsy. 

These achievements were recently illustrated and discussed in the following papers: 

- Biagini G., Rustichelli C., Curia G., Vinet J., Lucchi C., Pugnaghi M., Meletti S. 
(2013) Neurosteroids and epileptogenesis. J. Neuroendocrinol., 25: 980-990. DOI: 10.1111/jne.12063 
- Curia G., Lucchi C., Vinet J., Gualtieri F., Marinelli C., Torsello A., Costantino L., Biagini G. (2014) Pathophysiogenesis of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy: is prevention of damage antiepileptogenic? Curr. Med. Chem., 21: 663-688. DOI: 10.2174/0929867320666131119152201
- Lucchi C., Vinet J., Meletti S., Biagini G. (2015) Ischemic-hypoxic mechanisms leading to hippocampal dysfunction as a consequence of status epilepticus. Epilepsy Behav. DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.04.003

Albena Patroneva

Albena Patroneva, MD is Chief Medical Officer of Marinus. Dr. Patroneva brings close to 20 years of experience spanning across research, drug development, clinical, regulatory and commercialization activities focused in neurology with large pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Wyeth and Takeda. She is a neurologist by training and for nearly a decade, practiced medicine with a focus in epilepsy and neurophysiology. Prior to joining Marinus, Dr. Patroneva served as Executive Medical Director, Therapeutic Area Group Advisor CNS at Takeda where she oversaw a group of physicians and a pipeline consisting of three Phase 3 programs and six early stage programs, including a compound targeting epilepsy. Prior to Takeda, Dr. Patroneva held various positions at AstraZeneca both in the United States and Bulgaria. Most recently she was Group Director of the physicians and scientists supporting the early psychiatry portfolio. While serving as Product Manager in AZ Bulgaria, she was responsible for the launch of Seroquel, an antidepressant approved for bipolar disorder. Earlier in her career, Dr. Patroneva was part of the Global Medical Affairs team at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals where, most notably, she coordinated a group of physicians to support the launch of Pristiq, an antidepressant approved to treat major depression. Academically, Dr. Patroneva was Assistant Professor in Neurophysiology at the Medical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. She received her MD from the Medical Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria and her MBA from the University "Assen Zlatarov" in Bourgas, Bulgaria.

Joseph Sullivan 

Dr. Joseph Sullivan, a pediatric neurologist, is the director of the UCSF Pediatric Epilepsy Center, where he specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with epilepsy. In particular, he is interested in the treatment of refractory epilepsy that does not respond to medications.

Sullivan has been involved in research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify areas in the brain that control language in children with epilepsy. Prior to joining UCSF Children's Hospital in 2007, Sullivan completed residencies in pediatrics at Children's Memorial Hospital at Northwestern University where he spent an additional year as chief resident. He then completed his child neurology, clinical neurophysiology and epilepsy training at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Specialities: Pediatric Epilepsy, Pediatric Neurology
Education: Albany School of Medicine, 1998
Residencies: University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Child Neurology, 2005
Children's Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University - Pediatrics, 2002
Fellowship: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Clinical Neurophysiology and Epilepsy

Stephen Wright

Dr Stephen Wright has more than 25 years of experience in medicines development, having worked on both sides of the Atlantic, in large and small pharmaceutical companies.  He joined GW from Ipsen, where he was Senior Vice President of Clinical Research & Development and a member of the UK Board of Directors. In this role he led teams responsible for regulatory success in both the US and EU. Dr Wright has direct  US drug development experience, firstly as Medical Director of Immunosciences, where he played a leading role in the approval of the first 5 lipoxygenase inhibitor, then Venture Head of Neuroscience at Abbott Laboratories, based near Chicago. He also spent some years at Glaxo in the UK as Associate Medical Director with special responsibility for sumatriptan and for the Glaxo range of topical steroids. His industry experience started when he joined Scotia Pharmaceuticals as Director of Immunology, Inflammation and Dermatology Research in 1988. He has experience across a range of therapeutic areas, but his particular expertise lies in the fields of neuro-endocrinology and oncology.  He has taken a leading role in achieving marketing authorisation for several innovative medicines on both sides of the Atlantic, including sumatriptan, fluticasone, sertindole, zileuton, ritonavir, lanreotide, triptorelin, botulinum toxin A and Sativex.

Dr Wright has a Masters degree in Social and Political Science from the University of Cambridge, where he also won a ‘Blue' for representing the University at Cricket and Soccer. He qualified in Medicine (MB BS) at The Royal London Hospital. His other higher degrees include an MD, also from The University of Cambridge, where he investigated the contribution of membrane long-chain fatty acid abnormalities to the immunological status of people with inflammatory diseases of the skin.  He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and was elected to Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine in 2000. Dr Wright is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.  His early medical career in the NHS culminated in him becoming Consultant Senior Lecturer at The Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine. He is a Visiting Professor in the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy at The University of Reading.  

He has authored more than 100 publications, and several book chapters.



Jozef Gecz
Head, Neurogenetics Research Program SA Pathology at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, University of Adelaide 

He is NH&MRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Adelaide. He is the head of the Neurogenetics Research Program at the Department of Genetic Medicine, SA Pathology at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide, Australia. The broad research aim of his group is to further understanding of brain function through the identification and characterisation of genes with naturally occurring mutations in patients with intellectual disability, autism and some,primarily monogenic, forms of epilepsy. His team discovered or contributed to the discovery of more than 50 different disease genes. Many of these genes pointed to new and unexpected biological pathways essential for normal brain function.

 


Pasquale Striano
Associate Professor, University of Genova, Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, University of Genoa, "G. Gaslini" Institute, Genova, Italy

My main field of interest is molecular genetics of idiopathic epilepsies with a special interest in clinical assessment of the children with epilepsy and genotype-phenotype relationships. As a board certified neurologist and pediatric neurologist, I have conducted translational studies on different forms of genetic epilepsies and I have participated to clinical trials of antiepileptic drugs in patients affected by such seizure disorders. I have contributed to dissect the genetics of benign familial epilepsies of the first year of life and to assess the extent of the genetic overlap between benign familial neonatal seizures (BFNS), benign familial neonatal-infantile seizures (BFNIS), and benign familial infantile seizures (BFIS).From 2013, I am active member of an European clinical research program on KCNQ2 mutations encephalopathy patients and I have applied for a clinical trial to test the clinical efficacy of the drug retigabine in children with KCNQ2-related epileptic encephalopathy.



Renzo Guerrini

Direttore Clinica di Neurologia Pediatrica, Direttore Scuola di Specializzazione in Neuropsichiatria Infantile, Ospedale Pediatrico Meyer, Firenze. Complete CV


Norimichi Higurashi
Department of Pediatrics, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

Dr. Higurashi is a medical doctor in Jikei University Hospital in Tokyo. He specializes in the medical care of children with neurological diseases, mainly epilepsy. He is particularly interested in the neurophysiological bases of seizure symptoms as well as the molecular mechanisms underlying early-onset epilepsies. He also performs basic research on Dravet syndrome and PCDH19 female epilepsy by using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to reveal the pathomechanisms of these disorders and has obtained his PhD degree in this topic.




Eric Leguern

Pr. Eric LeGuern is head of the neurogenetics laboratory at
La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, France. He manages with Drs. Christel Depienne and Caroline Nava the molecular diagnosis of genetically-determined epilepsy including Dravet / Dravet-like syndrome (SCN1A and PCDH19 gene) and genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+). He is also head of the research team on “genetics of epilepsy” at the Brain and Spine Institute (Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital).
This team focuses on monogenic forms of epilepsy. Its work consists in a continuum between clinical, genetics and physiology approaches. This group applies recent genomic technologies (SNP microarrays, next generation sequencing) to identify novel gene mutations involved in epileptic encephalopathies (EE) including Dravet syndrome and familial forms of common epileptic syndromes (Focal epilepsies). It also studies the pathophysiological role of mutations of different genes, especially
LGI1 and DEPDC5, which cause familial forms of focal epilepsy.




Maria Passafaro
CNR Institute of Neuroscience, Dept. of Medical Biotechnologies and Translational Medicine, University of Milan, Italy

The research of her team is to investigate on mechanism that regulate formation, plasticity and function of excitatory glutamate synapses. The  main projects are: 1) Molecular regulation of glutamate receptors trafficking, at synapses. 2) Identification of the role of genes in brain structure and function whose mutations are responsible of severe forms of psychiatric deseases and that encode proteins which are linked, directly or indirectly, to the synaptic function and dendritic spines development. 




Nicola Specchio
Department of Neuroscience, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy

Dr. Specchio is a medical doctor and Physician doctor in the Department of Neuroscience at Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, Italy. Dr. Specchio main activity is the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric epileptic patients, with main interest in seizure semiology, classification of epileptic seizures and syndromes. He works in the field of pre-surgical evaluation of patients with drug resistant epilepsy and in the selection of patients with genetic epilepsies. Dr. Specchio has published papers in International journals with main interest on epilepsy as Epilepsia, Epilepsy Research, Epilepsy and Behavior. Dr. Specchio currently is responsible for different clinical research projects regarding invasive monitoring of epileptic patients and the genetic etiology of epileptic encephalopathy in the first three years of life. Dr. Specchio is representative of the Italian Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy.

Raffaella Cusmai

Neurologist at the B.Gesù Pediatric Hospital, Neorology unit, she is the author and co-author of several articles about infantile epilepsy.

Alessandra Terracciano

Dr. Alessandra Terracciano graduated in Biology in 2001 from the University of Naples. From 2002 to 2006 she was Research Fellow at the Institute of Medical Genetics of Catholic University, in that activity she investigated the reactivation of the fragile X gene and X-linked mental retardation and she was supported by a grant from Telethon Foundation in Italy. Completed her postgraduate training in Medical Genetics in 2005. In the 2006 she started her Post-doctoral Fellow at the Unit of Molecular Medicine for Neuromusclular and Neurodegenerative Disease of Child Hospital Bambino Gesù, focusing her interest to degenerative disease as recessive cerebellar ataxias. In 2009 she started an inter-departmental collaboration with Neurology Unit of Child Hospital Bambino Gesù for the molecular characterization of epileptic encephalopathy and genetic forms of epilepsy.