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Evaluating the effects of sub-chronic exposure to sub-clinical levels of CO on Dravet etiology and associated SUDEP risk

Ashwini Sri Hari, PhD – University of Utah
Evaluating the effects of sub-chronic exposure to sub-clinical levels of CO on Dravet etiology and associated SUDEP risk
Postdoctoral Fellowship – 1 year, $75,000


Grant Summary:
 Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of the top most deadly air pollutants that is positively associated with an increased risk of epilepsy hospitalizations and sub-clinical seizures. CO is known to cause hypoxemia, hypoxia and impair lung function. Dravet syndrome (DS), a debilitating pediatric genetic epilepsy is characterized by refractory seizures, increased mortality rate due to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), and cognitive/psychomotor dysfunction. SUDEP has no clear mechanisms but is reported to be caused by cardio-respiratory mechanisms. The question of whether and how CO exposure exacerbates pathomechanisms in DS patients and their associated SUDEP risk is unknown. The experiments proposed in this proposal aim to address these questions.

About the Investigator: Dr. Ashwini Sri Hari earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biotechnology from India. She pursued her PhD in Toxicology with a special focus on epilepsy and seizure disorders under the mentorship of Dr. Manisha Patel at the University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus. Ashwini joined the esteemed NINDS Anticonvulsant Drug Development (ADD) Program at the University of Utah and is currently under the prestigious mentorship of Drs. Karen Wilcox and Cameron Metcalf. Here, she has the opportunity to continue working on screening drug compounds in a mouse model of DS that harbors a clinically relevant missense, loss of function mutation in the SCN1A voltage-gated sodium channel gene. Additionally, her research focuses on delineating the molecular mechanisms that cause Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and how environmental factors may impact risk.

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