Gladstone Scientist Awarded International Prize in Epilepsy Research

By Nina Bai and Dana Smith

Jeanne Paz, PhD, an assistant investigator at the UC San Francisco-affiliated Gladstone Institutes, has been awarded the prestigious Michael Prize, recognizing her significant contributions to the field of epilepsy. The international prize is given every two years for the best clinical and scientific advancements in epilepsy research and is one of the most highly regarded awards in the field. Paz will be presented with the award at the International Epilepsy Congress in Istanbul in September.

Jeanne Paz, PhD

“I feel very happy to receive this most prestigious international award. It is an immense pleasure when your work is recognized. It encourages me to pursue my work and makes me think I must be doing something right,” said Paz, an assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Neurology. “My peers who received this award are amongst the brightest scientists in the epilepsy field and in neuroscience in general. Therefore, I feel extremely honored to receive this award. I look forward to joining the Michael Foundation family in September.”

The prize celebrates Paz’s discovery that epileptic seizures can be stopped in real-time in rodents using optogenetics—a tool that enables scientists to turn certain cells in the brain on or off with light. Using this technology, Paz identified key neural circuits that can prevent seizure activity.

“Jeanne’s receipt of the Michael Prize is a great achievement, acknowledging her pioneering analysis of the role of circuit mechanisms in epilepsy,” said Lennart Mucke, MD, director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease. “We are very proud of her accomplishment.”

Before coming to Gladstone in 2014, Paz was a postdoctoral researcher in the labs of Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, and John Huguenard, PhD, at Stanford University.

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