Pursuing New Treatments for Epilepsy
The Kalume Laboratory investigates the mechanisms that drive epilepsy and related conditions, with the goal of making discoveries that lead to improved treatments for affected children and adults.
Much of the laboratory’s current research focuses on Dravet syndrome, a severe, life-threatening form of epilepsy that starts in infancy. Dravet syndrome is caused by mutations in SCN1A, a gene that produces the sodium channel NaV 1.1. The laboratory has made important progress toward understanding how mutations in this gene cause Dravet syndrome, which in turn can lead to sudden unexpected death.
Kalume and his team are also studying why epilepsy leads to sleep disorders, and investigating the mechanisms that allow the ketogenic diet – a high-fat dietary regimen – to suppress seizures.
Franck Kalume, PhD, is a principal investigator in the Center for Integrative Brain Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and an adjunct assistant professor in the departments of neurological surgery and pharmacology at the University of Washington. He received a BA in biology from LeMoyne-Owen College and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Tennessee Heath Science Center. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington, under the mentorship of Professor William A. Catterall, in the department of pharmacology.