From Microscopic to Macroscopic - Mechanisms Underlying Epileptic Seizures
May 08, 2007 – May 10, 2007
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Epilepsy is a dynamical disease of the brain that affects 2% of the US population and is epitomized by bursts of indiscriminate synchronous activity affecting large neuronal populations. The disease has been the subject of extensive experimental as well as theoretical research efforts that focus on elucidating molecular, cellular and network mechanisms underlying seizure generation and progression a well as devising tools to predict and control seizure onset. Although their roles are poorly understood, a wide variety of microscopic mechanisms have been implicated as potential elements in the formation of the disease and in the generation of seizures. On the other hand analytic and computational approaches have led to development of macroscopic tools that may be useful for predicting seizure onset, as well as for providing basic insights into the macroscopic, network-wide dynamics of seizure propagation. Despite extensive work at the microscopic and at the macroscopic levels, there has been little work done on integrating insights on different spatio-temporal scales into a coherent framework. We propose to organize a conference that would focus on understanding the relationships among multiple scales and spur development of a common framework relating experimental and theoretical/modeling efforts. The conference would assemble a set of experimental and theoretical researchers, some of whom work on the molecular and cellular (microscopic) level and some of whom work on macroscopic, network and computational properties of epilepsy. The conference participants would be charged with stepping out of their usual regime of research to actively engaging in what we hope will be a ground-breaking discussion of epilepsy across spatio-temporal scales.