José E. Cavazos
Professor of Medicine-Neurology & Physiology
Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Office: 210-617-5300 x4373 or 617-5161
My laboratory studies activity-dependent plasticity in the hippocampal formation in the developing, adult, and aged brain using a variety of experimental models of epilepsy, seizures, and epileptogenesis. Previous studies from my laboratory have shown that repeated seizures induce progressive neuronal death and axon sprouting that permanently alter the hippocampal circuitry lending it more susceptible to additional seizures and memory dysfunction. We currently are investigating the molecular mechanisms that link the synchronous neuronal hyperexcitability with these morphological events including the role of caspases using in-vivo models and in-vitro organotypic hippocampal slice cultures. We investigate the features of seizure-induced axon sprouting in other limbic circuitries using anatomical tracing techniques, and their electrophysiological consequences in the neuronal excitability of the abnormally connected circuitry using brain slices. Lastly, we are evaluating several antagonists at the various steps in this cascade that leads to circuit plasticity with the aim of identifying the crucial steps in the epileptogenic process amenable to novel pharmacological targets for a better treatment of seizures and epilepsy.