Franck Kalume, PhD

Franck Kalume, PhD
"Unfortunately, my family suffered a tragedy when my nephew passed away from an epilepsy complication called Sudden and Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, or SUDEP. This motivated me to study how genetic mutations cause epilepsy, and to understand the mechanisms behind SUDEP and other epilepsy-related conditions. I hope my research will contribute to the discovery of preventive approaches for SUDEP and help children overcome epilepsy and live happy, healthy lives."
  • Biography

    Dr. Franck Kalume is a principal investigator in the Norcliffe Foundation Center for Integrative Brain Research (NFCIBR) at Seattle Children's Research Institute and associate professor in the departments of neurological surgery, pharmacology and global health at the University of Washington. He received a BS in biology from LeMoyne-Owen College and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Tennessee Health 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. He served as acting instructor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Washington before joining the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery and the NFCIBR at Seattle Children's Research Institute in late 2012. His current research interests include understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying sleep disturbance and sudden unexpected death, and investigating the anti-seizure properties of the ketogenic diet in Dravet syndrome and other genetic epilepsies.

    Research Description

    The Kalume Lab is focused on understanding the pathophysiological basis of genetic epilepsies and their comorbid conditions. The goal of this lab is to pave the way for developing future drugs and therapeutic approaches for these disorders. The current research in the lab is aimed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying sudden unexpected death, sleep disturbance and the anti-seizure properties of the ketogenic diet in Dravet syndrome. Dravet syndrome is a drug-resistant and life-threatening epilepsy that starts in infancy, and is caused by heterozygote loss-of-function mutations in SCN1A, the gene encoding the type1 sodium (NaV 1.1) channels. The lab uses innovative approaches by combining behavioral assay, patch-clamp electrophysiology, pharmacology, electroencephalography, electrocardiography, electromyography, immunohistochemistry, biochemistry and mouse genetic techniques to identify changes in NaV channel function, as well as changes in neuronal and network excitability that cause epilepsy and associated conditions in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome.

    Research Focus Area


  • Related Resources

    • Kalume Laboratory

      The Kalume Laboratory investigates the mechanisms that drive epilepsy and related conditions, and pursues improved treatments for affected children and adults.

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