Epilepsy and Precision Medicine

Research Overview

The philosophy of our group is IMAGINE, INNOVATE, and IMPLEMENT (I-Cubed). The research theme is Precision Medicine, ranging from basic discovery to clinical implementation and health economic analysis.  We do paradigm setting research that aims to disrupt the status quo to provide solutions to population health challenges.  Our projects are technology driven and cross-disciplinary with emphasis on translation to clinical practice followed by careful outcome evaluation.  Although the focus is on neurological diseases, particularly epilepsy, our work has broad relevance and extends to precision medicine in other disciplines.

Major research areas include:

Devices

  • Novel rapid genotyping techniques (sample to answer within minutes)
  • Point-of-care molecular diagnostic devices for application in neurological disorders (e.g. epilepsy) and other medical disciplines, including gastroenterology (e.g. coeliac disease, colorectal cancer screening) and infectious diseases (e.g. malaria, HIV)
  • Wearable devices for non-invasive, ambulatory seizure monitoring and prediction

Pharmacogenomics and Precision Medicine 

  • Genetic markers and immunologic basis of severe cutaneous adverse drug reactions

Health Economics of genetic testing

  • Genetics of Epilepsy
  • Population genetic studies of epilepsy in rural China
  • Genetic susceptibility of structural/metabolic epilepsy
    Clinical genomics of epilepsy

Mechanisms of epileptogenesis and drug resistance  

  • Epileptogenesis in Alzheimer disease
  • Efflux multidrug transporters in epilepsy

Outcomes research

  • Long-term outcome of newly diagnosed epilepsy and its determinants
  • Outcome of epilepsy surgery
  • Stroke and epilepsy

Staff

  • Dr Marian Todaro, Post-doc (molecular biology)
  • Dr Jianxiong Chan, Post-doc (molecular biology)
  • Dr Zibin (Ben) Chen, Post-doc (biostatistics)
  • Post-doc in bioinformatics
  • Post-doc in electrical engineering
  • Dr Gita Vita Soraya, PhD candidate
  • Mr Michael Erlichster, PhD candidate
  • Ms Juliana Silva, PhD student
  • Mr Yu Shen, Honorary staff
  • Mr David Gilbert, Honours student

Collaborators

  • Prof Stan Skafidas, Centre for Neural Engineering, The University of Melbourne
  • Prof Terence O'Brien, Department of Medicine (RMH/WH), The University of Melbourne
  • A/Prof Nigel Jones, Department of Medicine (RMH/WH), The University of Melbourne
  • Prof Stephen Rogerson,  Doherty Institute and Department of Medicine (RMH/WH), The University of Melbourne
  • A/Prof Bernard Yan, Department of Neurology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Dr Jason Tye-Din, WEHI
  • Prof Danny Liew, Monash University
  • Prof Tony Purcell, Monash University
  • Prof Martin Brodie, University of Glasgow
  • Prof Pak C Sham, University of Hong Kong
  • Prof Aaron HP Ho, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Prof Sui K Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong  
  • Prof Weiping Liao, Guangzhou Medical University

Funding

  • GENOMICS OF ANTIEPILEPTIC DRUG-INDUCED STEVENS JOHNSON SYNDROME (Project Grants)  awarded by NHMRC 2016 - 2018
  • EXPLORING SOMATIC MUTATION IN FOCAL EPILEPSIES (Project Grants)  awarded by NHMRC 2015 - 2017
  • Rapid point-of-care detection of genomic variations for personalised medicine (Discovery Projects)  awarded by AUST RESEARCH COUNCIL 2014 - 2017
  • PHARMACOGENOMICS OF AED ASSOCIATED BIRTH DEFECTS (Project Grants)  awarded by NHMRC 2014 - 2016
  • DEVELOPING A RAPID SYSTEM TO DETECT GENOMIC VARIATIONS AND ADAPTING INTO A POINT-OF-CARE DEVICE FOR PERSONALIED MEDICINE (Melbourne Research Grants Support Scheme)  awarded by UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE 2013
  • Consortium on pharmacogenetics impact on cerebrovascular disease outcome study (International Research & Research Training Fund (IRRTF))  awarded by UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE - 2016
  • Development of an Ultra-Sensitive Non-Invasive Point-of-Care Immunosensor for Malaria Elimination in the Asia Pacific Region (Grand Challenges Explorations)  awarded by GATES FOUNDATION 2016 - 2017.

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

  • Chen Z, Liew D, Kwan P.  Real-world cost-effectiveness of pharmacogenetic screening for epilepsy treatment. Neurology 2016 Mar 22;86(12), 1086-94
  • Chan J, Jones NC, Bush AI, O'brien TJ, Kwan P. A mouse model of Alzheimer's disease displays increased susceptibility to kindling and seizure-associated death. Epilepsia 2015 56 (6), e73-e77
  • Vu CLN, Chan J, Todaro M, Skafidas S, Kwan P. Point-of-care molecular diagnostic devices: an overview Pharmacogenomics 2015 16 (12), 1399-1409
  • Lin M, Todaro M, Chan J, Churilov L, Zhu WS, Ramdave S, Mitchell PJ, Dowling RJ, Kwan P, Yan B. Association between CYP2C19 Polymorphisms and Outcomes in Cerebral Endovascular Therapy. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2016 37 (1), 108-113.