Zinc and seizures
Zn2+ is an essential element having a multitude of biological functions throughout the body. Our research has demonstrated that low brain Zn2+ can increase seizure susceptibility (Hildebrand et al 2015 Sci Rep).
In this project the student will learn a range of experimental techniques aimed at understanding the role Zn2+ plays in changing neuronal excitability.
This highlights Zn2+ supplementation as a potentially good therapeutic strategy for seizure conditions. Before clinical trials can begin we need to complete important pre-clinical work in rodent models of epilepsy. We also need to better understand the mechanisms through which Zn2+ modulates neuronal excitability. This will include using established rodent models to test diet and drug manipulations of brain Zn2+ levels on seizure susceptibility and electrophysiological investigations looking at how neuron excitability is changed by Zn2+. The results have particularly relevance for developing countries, where epilepsy rates are high and nutritional supplementation is a potential practical therapy.
Brain health affects all Australians. You can support our research by making a donation or a bequest.