Tuesday, November 13, 2018

11am – 12:15pm

310 Kelly Hall – VT Campus

Dr. Susan Campbell

Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences

Virginia Tech 


Drug-resistant epilepsy is a clinical challenge for 30-40% of all patients with epilepsy. While new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have been developed, they fall short in treating patients with drug resistant epilepsy because the mechanisms of epileptogenesis are largely unknown and AEDs by large target the same systems, therefore new approaches are necessary. Typically, when we think about epilepsy occurrence or treatment mechanisms, we think about the brain, not the gut. However, a consistent growing body of evidence argues that the microbes in our gut are essential mediators of brain function and may be the origin of diseases affecting the central nervous system. The microbiome is now implicated in modulating seizure activity, providing a needed novel mechanism for therapeutic targets to treat patients who suffer from drug-resistant epilepsy. An overview of supporting evidence and plausible questions to be addressed will be presented. Lastly, our current approaches to better understand potential mechanisms involved in gut-brain interactions affecting neuronal function will be introduced.


Susan Campbell completed her undergraduate studies in biology and psychology (BS, 1997) from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1997, and earned her graduate degree (Ph.D. 2005) in neurobiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She joined Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in 2015 before her appointment in the department of Animal and Poultry Sciences in 2017. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of altered synaptic communication that leads to the development of epilepsy, elucidating the mechanisms that make a subset of epilepsy patients refractory to treatment and deciphering the role of the gut microbiota in seizure susceptibility in acquired and idiopathic epilepsies.