Epigraph Vol. 20 Issue 1, Summer 2018

Yes, it's YES: Young Epilepsy Section hosts enthusiastic kick-off workshop

In mid-May, the Young Epilepsy Section (YES) of ILAE attracted 55 clinicians and researchers from around the world to its kick-off workshop and inaugural General Assembly meeting in London. YES aims to promote the involvement of young people from all disciplines involved in epileptology using a bottom-up approach that complements ILAE activities.

With an average attendee age of 33 and representation from more than a dozen areas of specialization, the group was well positioned to discuss goals and strategies.

“YES is a grassroots-style organisation delivered by young people, for young people,” said newly elected Chair Marian Galovic. “We will improve the professional development opportunities for early-career researchers and clinicians, and expand the participation of young leaders within the ILAE.”

YES was born from ILAE’s leadership development and mentor programs spearheaded by J. Helen Cross.
“[YES members] are our future in epileptology, so this early involvement we hope will help to grow the new leaders and epileptologists of the future,” she said.

Organization goals

“A big topic in the coming year will be education,” said Galovic. “The ILAE is setting up an epileptology curriculum, and YES will be involved in shaping this program to meet the needs of young people. We also plan to supplement this curriculum by offering specialised YES visiting fellowships.”

Another short-term goal is to offer a targeted program for upcoming conferences that showcases the innovative research that junior members can offer.

“Many congress visitors are below 40 years of age and we will offer specific sessions, peer-to-peer mentoring, and networking events for them,” said Galovic. “Future conferences should be younger, more dynamic and simply more fun for junior members.”

Cross sees a crucial role for YES in the areas of education and communication. “They are much more tech savvy, and have new ideas for utilization of technology,” she said. “This is a really enthusiastic group that values the opportunity to become more involved.”

Between now and the end of 2019, YES aims to:

  • Actively approach young epileptologists in underrepresented regions to promote equal representation
  • Increase the online visibility of YES and establish internal communication channels
  • Boost involvement of young epileptologists at ILAE conferences
  • Secure representation on certain ILAE task forces with goals relevant to young investigators (Next Generation, Education, Communication)


Chair: Marian Galovic, M.D., University College London
Vice Chair: Christos Lisgaras, Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Secretary: Genevieve Rayner, Ph.D., Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Treasurer: Katja Kobow, Ph.D., Universitätsklinikum Erlangen

Regional Representatives:

  • Africa: Musa Watila
  • Asia & Oceania: Mohmad Farooq Shaikh
  • Eastern Mediterranean: TBA
  • Europe: Caroline Neuray
  • Latin America: Johann Sebastian Ortiz De la Rosa
  • North America: Taylor Abel

Task Forces

  • Communication: Neha Kaul
  • Diversity & Advocacy: Rodolfo Cesar Callejas Rojas and Musa Watila
  • Education & Career Development: Jan-Christoph Schoene-Bake
  • Finance & Conferences: Caroline Neuray
  • Research & Translational: Christos Lisgaras

All YES members are encouraged to participate in task forces; email yes@ilae.org for more information or to get involved.

Upcoming Meetings

The YES general assembly will meet every two years at the International Epilepsy Conference. The next meeting will be in 2019 in Bangkok. The meeting will include a report of previous activities and their impact, as well as the goals of upcoming activities and a timeline. Each task force will present during the meeting.

Board members will be elected at each general assembly meeting by simple majority.

Between general meetings, the YES Core Group will meet at various epilepsy conferences.

YES in Vienna

Don’t miss the YES forum at the European Congress on Epileptology in Vienna on Thursday, August 30. Titled “Your First Epilepsy Research Project”, the forum features presentations from five ILAE members.

YES also will hold a general meeting in Vienna on August 25.

Who is eligible for YES?

All ILAE junior members (under 40 years old, or still in training) qualify as voting members of YES. No additional dues are required.

Active members—those who support the activities of YES and are responsible for tasks—make up the YES Core Group, which is presided over by the board (see first elected board members box).

Read more about YES and its members on the Young Epilepsy Section (YES) web pages. If you are interested in getting involved, please email yes@ilae.org for more information.