Michael Prize 2019

Birgit Frauscher

Dr. Birgit Frauscher is an epileptologist and Associate Professor at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University Canada and is a valuable and esteemed member of our research community due to her outstanding work in neurophysiology of epilepsy.

There are important interactions between sleep and epilepsy; sleep may influence the occurrence of epileptic seizures, and epilepsy may affect sleep. Dr Frauscher, who had been already well known for her excellent work in sleep research, extended her skills and experiences in the sleep field to epileptology. In her article selected for the Michael Prize (Frauscher B, von Ellenrieder N, Ferrari-Marinho T, Avoli M,Dubeau F, Gotman J. Facilitation of epileptic activity during sleep is mediated by high amplitude slow waves. Brain 2015; 138: 1629-41), she found the important role of high synchronization during the sleep slow waves to facilitate epileptic activity by using combined scalp-intracerebral electroencephalography. In another selected publication (Sleep, 2015), on the other hand, she showed the negative influence of interictal spiking on the occurrence of sleep spindles in the area of hippocampus.

She is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers with an H-index of 38. Her research was awarded with the European Young Investigator Award of the International League Against Epilepsy in 2018, a “Chercheur‐boursier clinicien Junior 2” salary award of the Fonds de la Recherche du Québec – Santé 2018-2021, and the Ernst-Niedermeyer Prize of the Austrian Epilepsy Society in 2015.

In addition to her further excellent and relevant research works using the extra- and intracranial EEGs including the nature and significance of spikes, high and slow frequency activities in seizure generation and location, Dr Frauscher also investigated the physiological oscillations or region-specific normative values to better differentiate pathological activities in epilepsy. A third selected article "Atlas of the normal intracranial electroencephalogram" (Brain, 2018) then provided a normative baseline in different cortical areas which should serve as a reference in investigating the abnormal activities of the brain. Dr. Frauscher has thus contributed significantly to the area of neurophysiology in epilepsy, which makes her a worthy holder of the Michael Prize 2019