Optogenetic modulation of the area tempestas – an epilepsy hot spot

Several lines of study have recently converged to reveal a new target for controlling epileptic seizures.

Early work by Piredda and Gale (Nature 1985, 317:623) provided unequivocal evidence that the prepiriform cortex, subsequently coined the “area tempestas”, was a hot spot for initiation and spread of epileptic seizures.  Within this region a population of specialised inhibitory neurons called neurogliaform cells (NG) shows a stereotypic pattern of firing that implicates them seizures.  In this project the candidate will use in vivo electrophysiological recording and optogenetic stimulation to examine real time modulation of the control of seizures to develop a role for the in vivo function of NG cells and explore their potential utility in seizure suppression.