Functional Imaging for NeuroDiagnostics for Epilepsy and Resective Surgery (FINDERS)

Principal Investigator

Research Priority Area

  • Neuroscience

How to Join

Potential scientific collaborators may contact either of the principal investigators listed above for more information about the study.


Determining seizure type and locating where a seizure occurs in the brain makes it possible for physicians specializing in epilepsy to decide on the most appropriate treatment, including surgery. When the site of the seizure can be found rapidly and accurately by EEG, MRI, and other means of neuroimaging, physicians can diagnose and treat patients quickly and effectively. But in many cases traditional EEG and MRI techniques are unable to accurately locate where a seizure arises in the brain, limiting surgical treatment options.

Funded by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Alliance Research Initiative, Functional Imaging and NeuroDiagnostics for Epilepsy and Resective Surgery (FINDERS) works to improve the treatment of epilepsy by bringing advanced neuroimaging techniques into use in the clinic. The goal of the FINDERS Alliance is to improve localization of seizures, diagnosis and treatment options through the development of new brain imaging methods. An important part of meeting that goal is the gathering of a transdisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians. Accordingly, FINDERS will pull together clinical collaborators including radiologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists as well as neuroscientists, neuroimagers, physicists, biostatisticians, and other researchers from the colleges of medicine, engineering, and public health.

Brian Gold, PhD, professor in the department of neuroscience, serves as the principal investigator of FINDERS. Dr. Gold is the interim director of the University of Kentucky’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Center, a focal point for advanced neuroimaging research in Kentucky. He directs a number of neuroimaging studies with the goal of understanding age-related changes in the brain and developing biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Dr. Gold also leads the neuroimaging component of the biomarker core at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, the University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and is the site leader of the neuroimaging core of the University of Kentucky’s MarkVCID site, a national consortium of seven academic medical centers focusing on age-related cognitive impairment and dementia.

Meriem Bensalem-Owen, MD, professor in the department of neurology, serves as the co-principal investigator of FINDERS. Dr. Bensalem-Owen is the director of the epilepsy program and plays a significant role in directing a multidisciplinary team that provides a variety of medical and surgical approaches for the management of drug-resistant epilepsy patients. Dr. Bensalem-Owen has been involved in several therapeutic clinical and surgical trials, and directs the first and only ACGME-accredited epilepsy fellowship in the state of Kentucky.

One remarkable and advanced form of neuroimaging to be used by the FINDERS Alliance combines two familiar methods: EEG and MRI. EEG alone can identify epilepsy but has poor spatial resolution that limits identifying the focus of the seizure, which often lies deep in the brain. MRI has good spatial resolution throughout the brain, including deep regions, but is not specific to epilepsy. When combined, however, the strengths of the two methods produce a neuroimaging technique that works better than either one alone in the identification of seizures, ultimately providing a better guide for surgical treatment options.

FINDERS will also support clinicians to compete successfully for grants. Mentorship by established scientists will provide these clinicians the training and resources to become clinical investigators, advancing their skills and improving the treatment of epilepsy patients in Kentucky.

Alliance Members

  • Timothy Ainger, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Jihye Bae, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Engineering
  • Meriem Bensalem-Owen, MD, Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Kevin Donohue, PhD, Professor – College of Engineering
  • Riham El-Khouli, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Radiology
  • Brian Gold, PhD, Professor – Department of Neuroscience
  • Larry Goldstein, MD, Chair and Professor – Department of Neurology
  • Jean Gotman, PhD, Professor and Lab Director – McGill University
  • Peter Hardy, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Radiology
  • Richard Kryscio, PhD, Professor – College of Public Health
  • Farhan Mirza, MD, Fellow at MNI – Department of Neurosurgery
  • M. Elizabeth Oates, MD, Chair and Professor – Department of Radiology
  • David Powell, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neuroscience
  • Flavius Raslau, MD, Associate Professor – Department of Radiology
  • Sridhar Sunderam, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Engineering
  • Ruta Yardi, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Neurology