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Research Portfolio



grant amount:

£250,000 with matched funding from the University of Edinburgh, awarded in 2021


Improving outcomes for Childhood Onset Epilepsies: from mechanisms to treatment

lead investigator:

Professor Cathy Abbott & Professor Richard Chin



University of Edinburgh


Epilepsy occurs in 0.5 to 1% of children and has immediate consequences to their quality of life, with potentially far-reaching effects into adulthood even if seizures are well-controlled. Furthermore, 30% of childhood-onset epilepsies (COE) are unresponsive to current treatments and the same percentage of individuals continue to have seizures into adulthood.

"This ERUK doctoral training centre will allow us to recruit a new generation of epilepsy researchers at the University of Edinburgh who will be trained in research methodology all the way through from basic science to developing and trialling new treatments. This training will go on to deliver long term future impacts for children with epilepsy and their families.

The Study

The cause of epilepsy is unknown in most children, however recent advances in gene sequencing have revealed a considerable number of cases result from an abnormality in a single gene. This provides an opportunity for researchers since it allows the study of causes and treatment of COE in a simplified experimental system.


This Doctoral Training Centre will aim to bring together experts in basic science and clinical skills to lead PhD research projects to improve understanding of how seizures occur and improve methods of diagnosis, whilst preparing the researchers for a career in epilepsy research. The establishment of the Epilepsy Research UK University of Edinburgh Doctoral Training Centre will consolidate epilepsy research in Edinburgh and nurture a new generation of researchers, which will continue to deliver long-term future impacts for children and adults with epilepsy.