Dr. Gary Mathern, professor of pediatric neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, was honored with the Ambassador for Epilepsy Award by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) at the 30th International Epilepsy Congress in Montreal on June 23.
The Ambassador for Epilepsy Award is given to select individuals to recognize their outstanding personal contributions to activities that advance the cause of epilepsy and have an international impact. The prestigious award reflects international peer recognition and is given for the lifetime of the recipient.
Mathern was recognized for his significant work in improving clinical care for children undergoing surgery for medically refractory epilepsy, as well as contributions to the ILAE and other non-profit consumer epilepsy organizations.
His collaborative group at UCLA has been at the forefront, performing translational research on the diseased tissue removed during surgery on pediatric patients. This work has led to breakthrough discoveries on mechanisms of the disease process and how seizures develop in the brain. His group has also published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on a breadth of topics such as long-term surgical outcomes, language and motor outcomes following hemispherectomy, advancing the concept of early surgery to stop seizures in children and much more. His laboratory has sponsored post-doctoral researchers and other scholars and he has assisted in the development of epilepsy surgery programs for children in Brazil, India, China and Taiwan.
Mathern also works with non-profit organizations to advance research and care for epilepsy including the Rasmussen Encephalitis (RE) Children's Project, the Hemispherectomy Foundation, the Brain Recovery Project and serves on the professional advisory board for the Epilepsy Foundation of America.
Mathern became co-editor-in-chief of the journal Epilepsia in July 2013. He joined the neurosurgery faculty at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1996. He completed his neurosurgery residency at UCLA Medical Center, his surgery internship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and earned his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.