[Skip to Content]

Upstate Professor Auerbach receives International CURE Epilepsy award

David Auerbach, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, has been honored with a two-year CURE Epilepsy award, which seeks to push the envelope and accelerate promising research leading to disease-modifying breakthroughs for people living with epilepsy.

People with epilepsy are at a high risk of sudden death unexpected death (e.g., SUDEP). Current SUDEP risk factors are not linked to the proposed biological causes for SUDEP. There is a higher prevalence of cardiac electrical abnormalities in people with epilepsy, and arrhythmias or irregular heart rhythms are reported to precede cases of SUDEP.

Auerbach’s team will use analytical tools that are well accepted in the cardiac field, but new to the epilepsy and SUDEP field, to identify epilepsy patient populations at risk of cardiac arrhythmias. Additionally, his team will test whether these tools identify people with epilepsy who later died of SUDEP. The team’s long-term goal is to develop a comprehensive SUDEP risk assessment tool based on markers for each of the proposed biological causes of SUDEP, including cardiac arrhythmias.

“Congratulations to these incredible researchers,” said Kelly Cervantes, chair of CURE Epilepsy’s Board of Directors. “These grants are so important to those living with epilepsy and their families and caregivers. As a long-time CURE Epilepsy board member, and the mother of a child who was lost due to epilepsy, these researchers fill me with hope for a future where children and adults live without seizures or the side effects of medication,” she continued. Over the past 20+ years, CURE Epilepsy’s unrelenting focus on accelerating science to find a cure is what will make the difference for the 3.4 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide living with epilepsy.

CURE Epilepsy has funded more than 270 cutting-edge research projects in 17 countries around the world.

The announcement of Auerbach’s honor coincides with November serving as Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages.

Epilepsy causes unpredictable seizures and other health problems. One in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy during their lifetime, and more than 1 in a 1000 people with epilepsy will die suddenly (SUDEP) each year. SUDEP is the most common disease-related cause of death with epilepsy.