Department of Neurology

Research

Faculty members in the Division of Pediatric Neurology are engaged in a variety of laboratory-based and clinical research programs. These studies are designed to improve our understanding of both the normal function of the developing nervous system and the pathologic processes which underlie many of the disorders encountered by the faculty in their clinical work, and to improve therapies of children with epilepsy and other disabling neurologic disorders. The research programs of the Division of Pediatric Neurology are affiliated with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI) which is composed of nine research centers. Five of these centers are closely aligned with the research programs within the Division of Pediatric Neurology, specifically: the Center for Integrated Brain Research, the Center for Genetics and Development, the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, and the Center for Developmental Therapeutics.

Critical Care Data Science

(Dr. Wainwright)

This team includes computer engineers and data scientists based at Seattle Children’s Hospital and collaborators in the Divisions of Critical Care, Cardiology and Neonatology. The objective of this work is to apply cutting edge computational methods to analyze complex streams of high-volume real-time streaming data from bedside monitors in the ICUs to combine these streams with data from electronic medical record in order to provide decision support at the bedside and to deliver precision care to improve long-term outcomes after critical illness.

Clinical Epilepsy

(Drs. Novotny, Saneto, Lopez, Bozarth, Hamiwka, Owens, Marashly and Monrad)

A variety of research projects in the Division focus on pediatric epilepsy and its treatment. Projects include the relationship of mitochondrial disease to various forms of pediatric epilepsy, the management of myoclonic epilepsies of childhood, clinical therapies of medically intractable epilepsy including the ketogenic diet and vagus nerve stimulator, the use of functional MRI, MR spectroscopy and PET in the evaluation of children for epilepsy surgery, and the long-term outcome of pediatric patients who have undergone epilepsy surgery. Our group is also is involved in translational research. We participate in multiple clinical trials in drug discovery for epilepsy syndromes.

The Seattle Children’s Epilepsy Program is a Clinical Center for the “Epilepsy Phenome-Genome Project”. The Division of Pediatric Neurology also sponsors a patient registry for individuals with pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy who reside in the US and Canada. Additional epilepsy research programs are conducted in collaboration with the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Clinical Pediatric Stroke

(Dr. Amlie-Lefond)

The Pediatric Vascular Neurology Program at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care to children neurovascular disorders. 

Research through the Pediatric Vascular Neurology Program at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital focuses on clinical care of children with stroke, including acute management and outcomes.

The program also participates as an enrolling site in several multicenter trials regarding childhood stroke:

International Pediatric Stroke Study (IPSS): This multinational research collaboration of child neurologists, hematologists, and pharmacologists is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of stroke in childhood. The IPSS is based at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
IPSS Website: https://internationalpediatricstroke.org/ipss-research/

Vascular Effects of Infection in Pediatric Stroke (VIPS): VIPS will determine the prevalence of recent infection and vasculopathy in an international sample of children with acute ischemic stroke to determine the role of infection in pediatric stroke. VIPS is an NIH funded study led by Dr Heather Fullerton at UCSF and Dr Gabrielle deVeber at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Seizures in Pediatric Stroke (SIPS): This study will follow children after they have had a stroke to determine frequency and nature of seizures in these children, and the impact seizures have on outcome after stroke in childhood. In addition, SIPS will determine what impact seizures have on outcome after stroke in childhood.

Mitochondrial Medicine

(Dr. Saneto)

We are one of the National Centers of Excellence in Mitochondrial Medicine engaged in the NIH funded study to elucidate the natural history of mitochondrial diseases. We are also one of the 8 national sites in the NIH funded study of the use of dichloroacetic acid in the treatment of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex disease. Other international translational medicine drug and genetic transfer trials are performed by our site in various mitochondrial diseases.

Pediatric Behavioral Neurology

(Dr. Steinman)

The Pediatric Behavioral Neurology Research Program of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington Autism Center (Center for Human Development and Disability) includes research projects focused on the relationship between the brain and behavior in neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Verbal and Non-Verbal Semantics in Autism: This study aims to characterize verbal and non-verbal semantic abilities in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to further our understanding of these disorders by expanding our knowledge about the broader system of conceptual knowledge and its relation to communicative impairment.

Simons Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP): This multisite study aims to characterize the medical, behavioral, and learning features of individuals with small genetic variations (deletions and duplications at 16p11.2 and 1q21.1) that increase the risk of autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders. This collaborative effort between experts in child neurology, psychology, and neuroimaging will improve our understanding of the relationship between specific genetic changes and the brain’s development in neurodevelopmental disorders. The study is funded by the Simons Foundation and led by principal investigator Dr. Wendy Chung (Columbia University).

Pediatric Brain Tumors and Tumors Associated with Neurofibromatosis Type 1

(Dr. Sato)

Our NF and Brain Tumor team offers research studies for Seattle Children’s with all types of tumors.

We lead research and clinical trials through:

Some clinical trials have a goal of collecting information (registries) and samples (banking studies) to help with future research. Taking part in banking studies may give families new information about their child’s tumor. This type of study is open to any child with a tumor.

Pediatric Neurocritical Care

(Drs. Morgan, Amlie-Lefond, Benedetti, Natarajan and Wainwright)

Faculty research interests include management of refractory status epilepticus, acute stroke management, applications of NIRS and quantitative EEG and the use of EEG for detection of neurologic injury in neonates and infants with complex congenital heart disease. The faculty are members of the Pediatric Neurocritical Care Research Group

Neonatal Neurology: We collaborate with our colleagues in Neonatology on projects involving neonatal brain injury and participate in national studies for neonatal seizure treatment. 

Pediatric Neuromuscular

(Drs. Perlman, Henriquez, Natarajan, Saneto)

Working closely alongside the neuromuscular clinical team, the Pediatric Neuromuscular Research Program (PNMRP) conducts advocacy- and industry-funded clinical research to better understand and find new treatments for neuromuscular disorders including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Basic Neuroscience

(Drs. Tully and Gospe)

Divisional faculty members are engaged in a variety of laboratory-based research studies. These investigations include the neurogenetics of autism, epilepsy and brain malformations; and the neurodevelopmental function of “antiquitin”.