Research Interests

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder characterized by events of spontaneous recurrent seizures. In addition, epilepsy is highly comorbid with cognitive and behavioral deficits along with catastrophic consequences such as sudden unexpected death. Unfortunately, antiepileptic medications do not help at suppressing seizures in one-third of the epileptic population. Thus, our research goal is to identify potential therapeutic targets for the prevention, treatment, and control of this neurological disorder. Through our scientific discoveries we seek to help stop seizures and improve cognitive outcomes in those affected by epilepsy.

Our research aims to determine the role of neuro-immune interactions in the construction of hyperexcitable neuronal networks that may promote seizures and cognitive deficits. One area of research is to define how and why prolonged seizures modulate the spatiotemporal profiles of microglia-mediated inflammatory and phagocytic signaling in parallel to synaptodendritic modifications in models of experimental epilepsy and in human brain samples derived from cases of drug-resistant epilepsy. A second area of investigation focuses on the role of the immune complement cascade and microglia-mediated synapse pruning in the synaptodendritic pathology, learning deficits, and memory impairments widely observed after prolonged seizures and in epilepsy. To study these, we use pharmacogenetic manipulations in combination with histological, high-resolution imaging, molecular, biochemical, and behavioral approaches.

Contact
Amy L. Brewster, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Behavioral NeuroscienceDepartment of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081 USA✉ abrewst@purdue.edu | ☎ (765) 494-5075