UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Kirill Volynski and Maria Thom awarded project grants from Epilepsy Research UK

23 May 2018

Epilepsy Research UK announced the largest number of grants ever awarded at its annual reception at the Royal Society on 17th May, including two UCL Institute of Neurology researchers.

ERUK grant recipients

Professor Maria Thom (Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy) has been awarded a 24-month project grant to restore, re-examine and catalogue the Corsellis epilepsy collection, a unique archive of brain samples from patients with epilepsy, collected during the second half of the last century. Up to date pathology and genetic methods can now be applied to re-examine and re-classify these cases to compare with modern surgical series. Over a two year period, Professor Thom and colleagues plan to restore this tissue collection, publish their findings and make this archive available to researchers. This collection will be known as the Epilepsy Research UK Corsellis Brain Collection.

Dr Kirill Volynski together with Prof. Dimitri Kullmann, Dr Robert Wykes and Dr. Elizabeth Nicholson (Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy) have been awarded a 24-month project grant to investigate the association between epilepsy and migraines.  Epilepsy significantly increases the risk of migraine and many people who have migraine experience ‘auras’ which are due to excessive firing of neurons in the brain; much like epilepsy.  However, unlike in epilepsy, the hyperexcitability in migraine does not affect other brain areas.  So the research will aim to work out why some brains are more susceptible to seizures than others.  The hope is that this research will lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets with results applicable to patients in 5-10 years

Professor Matthew Walker, (Head of Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, UCL Institute of Neurology and ERUK Chair of the Board of Trustees) informed Epilepsy Research UK supporters of the charity’s commitment to fund a total of 12 new research projects vital to furthering our knowledge and understanding of epilepsy; ranging from improving diagnostics to identifying those who will respond best to certain medications to identifying possible future treatments.

Professor Matthew Walker says “Research not only improves the lives of people right now, but will also improve the lives of the many people who will develop epilepsy in the future. Research is essential if we are going to find a cure, new treatments, or greater understanding of the condition. At Epilepsy Research UK we provide the funding for the research that will help change lives.”



Source: Epilepsy Research UK

Back row left to right: Dr Kirill Volynski, Professor Deb Pal, Professor Peter Oliver, Dr Jessica Kwok, Dr Vasiliki Tsirka.
Front row left to right: Professor Maria Thom, Professor Mark Cunningham (representing Mr Ashan Jayasekera), Dr Tonny Veenith, Dr Simon Keller, Dr David Carmichael