Richard Miles, Ph.D., Research Director, French National Center for Scientific Research, and Group Leader, Cortex and Epilepsy, Institute for the Brain and Spinal Cord, Centre Hospitalier Universtaire Pitie-Salpetriere, Paris, has been named recipient of the prestigious 2012 Epilepsy Research Recognition Award for Basic Science conferred by the American Epilepsy Society (AES). The award recognizes Dr. Miles for his highly original contributions in the understanding of electrical activity in neurons of the hippocampus, a brain structure associated with temporal lobe epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Research Recognition Award is part of the AES pubic recognition program to encourage and reward basic and clinical investigators whose research contributes importantly to the understanding and conquest of epilepsy. This year's award in basic science will be presented on December 1st during the Society's 66th annual meeting and scientific conference in San Diego, USA.
Research by Dr. Miles and his collaborators has provided remarkable insight into the cellular connectivity or wiring of the human cortex. Among his many seminal discoveries is the observation that a single neuron can initiate a spontaneous electrical burst in a population or group of neurons, synchronous activity that could explain how seizures begin. His work concerning the effect of the neurotransmitter GABA on brain tissue removed during epilepsy surgery has engendered a new field of epilepsy research. In addition to ongoing studies of resected human epileptic tissue from medically refractory patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, Dr. Miles's recent work is focused on genetic and acquired animal models of epilepsy.
In announcing the award and summarizing the research accomplishments, John Huguenard, Ph.D., who chairs the AES awards committee, said, "Dr. Miles is a scientist's scientist, astute, technically adept and precise, and deeply committed to the study of epilepsy in one of its most difficult to treat manifestations. He has significantly advanced our understanding of epilepsy at the most fundamental level."
American Epilepsy Society