Brain and Epilepsy Alliance for Metabolism Research (BEAM)

Principal Investigator

Research Priority Area

  • Neuroscience

Summary

A breakdown in brain metabolism, the process by which the brain converts nutrients into the energy it needs to function, can result in many different diseases. Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes, for example, are all related to changes in brain metabolism.

Researchers seek answers to the question of how brain metabolism goes awry and how those malfunctions give rise to disease. But one of the important challenges involves drawing together specialists who have the most experience with the wide array of diseases that result, since most work is done separately and in very different fields.

With the support of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Research Alliance Initiative, the Brain and Epilepsy Alliance for Metabolism research (BEAM) has gathered an interdisciplinary team to research how changes in brain metabolism affect and are affected by disease.

Matthew Gentry, PhD, professor in the department of molecular and cellular biochemistry, leads BEAM. Dr. Gentry serves as director of the Lafora Epilepsy Care Initiative. His expertise in his field makes him ideal to direct an interdisciplinary team of 24 senior and junior faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Medicine, and the College of Pharmacy.

So far, BEAM has leveraged alliance support to acquire sophisticated lab equipment, fund 15 pilot projects, and establish an epilepsy brain tissue biobank critical to research. BEAM members have already initiated electrophysiology and metabolomics experiments based on the biobank project, and plans to expand it are underway. To date, the BEAM principal investigators have been awarded nearly $15 million in external research funding. The ultimate goal is to discover treatments that return brain metabolism to normal function.

How to Join

Contact Brian Goodley

Alliance Members

  • Doug Andres, PhD, Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
  • Adam Bachstetter, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Neuroscience
  • Bjoern Bauer, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Pharmacy
  • Meriem Bensalem-Owen, MD, Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Eric Blalock, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Amy Chen, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neuroscience
  • Brian Delisle, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Physiology
  • John C. Gensel, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Matthew S. Gentry, PhD, Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
  • Dong Dan Han, PsyD, Chief – Department of Neurology
  • Brad Hubbard, PhD, Assistant Professor – Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center
  • Lance Johnson, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Siddharth Kapoor, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Chintan Kikani, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Biology 
  • Ai-Ling Lin, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Zabeen Mahuwala, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Sally Mathias, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Deb McGrath, Executive Director – Epilepsy Foundation for Kentuckiana
  • Farhan Mirza, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurosurgery
  • Chris Norris, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Bruce O’Hara, PhD, Professor – College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jim Pauly, PhD, Professor – College of Pharmacy
  • Thomas Pittman, MD, Professor – Department of Neurosurgery
  • Clare Rittschof, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
  • Kathryn Saatman, PhD, Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Frederick Schmitt, PhD, Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Ashley W. Seifert, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Biology 
  • Maj-Linda Selenica, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
  • Anthony Sinai, PhD, Professor – Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
  • John Slevin, MD, Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Patrick Sullivan, PhD, Professor – Department of Neuroscience
  • Ramon Sun, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neuroscience
  • Sridhar Sunderam, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Engineering
  • Ryan Temel, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Olivier Thibault, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Craig Vander Kooi, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
  • Qingjun Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
  • Rachel Ward-Mitchell, RN, Program Coordinator – Department of Neurology
  • Tritia Yamasaki, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Ruta Yardi, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurology
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