Michael Prize 2023 Experimental epilepsy research

Gabriele Lignani

Gabriele Lignani, PhD is Associate Professor at UCL, Institute of Neurology in London, UK. Gabriele Lignani is an excellent researcher, who since his PhD and first postdoc in Italy, made substantial contributions to the field of experimental epilepsy research. Specifically he reported the first evidence that master gene regulators of homeostatic compensation mechanisms are important in controlling network excitability. As a young independent researcher he further contributed to the understanding of mechanisms underlying epilepsy.

Gabriele Lignani’s major contribution to experimental epilepsy has been in developing innovative genetic therapies. He submitted three excellent and highly relevant publications in high impact journals. In particular he demonstrates the first gene therapy approach based on CRISPR to treat a model of Dravet Syndrome, as well as a model of acquired pharmaco-resistant epilepsy, opening a new avenue in gene editing for epilepsy. Moreover, in the recently published paper in Science, he developed the first activity-dependent gene therapy for brain circuit disorders. He devised the activity-depended gene therapy as a form of artificial homeostatic plasticity and collaborates with several groups locally and worldwide to bring this novel approach to the clinic, accelerating the final goal of finding innovative cures for epilepsy.