Research in our lab is focused on identifying the basic mechanisms of seizures that are unique to infants and young children. The catastrophic epilepsies of childhood often occur during circumscribed periods of brain development; with maturation these seizure disorders can be transformed to other types of epilepsy that are often unresponsive to anticonvulsant medications. Children with these disorders are often cognitively impaired. We have developed an animal model of infantile spasms, one of these catastrophic epilepsies.
The Anderson lab studies the molecular mechanisms by which signaling pathways modulate neuronal excitability in the immature hippocampus. The lab is also investigating how and why seizures induce long-term changes in ion channel plasticity (acquired channelopathies) and has developed several animal models of cortical dysplasia, autism and epilepsy. Additional studies are focused on cardiac mechanisms underlying sudden death in epilepsy. In addition to her research activities, Dr. Anderson leads the NRI EEG core and practices pediatric epilepsy at Texas Children's Hospital.
The cerebral cortex of the mammalian brain uses seemingly slow neural circuits to perform incredible functions that cannot be achieved by much faster man-made devices. Clearly, the cortex has evolved distinct circuit elements to implement such efficient computations, ultimately giving arise to sensation, thoughts, and actions.