Dr. Sankar's laboratory research has addressed the mechanisms of seizure-induced injury and epileptogenicity in the developing brain, and is funded by the NINDS, NIH. Present research also includes investigations on improving the throughput for screening compounds for antiepileptogenic action on the developing brain and modeling the comorbidity of depression that accompanies epileptogenesis. Recent work by Drs. Mazarati and Sankar have demonstrated connections between the epileptic state, physiologic stress, inflammation and how these factors modify the serotonergic tone in the brain stem-hippocampal pathways.
Clinical research interests include the development of improved diagnostics in the evaluation of infants and children for epilepsy surgery, applications of dietary therapy (ketogenic diet, modified Atkins, low-glycemic index dietary therapy) in the treatment of seizure disorders, childhood absence epilepsy (0ngoing NIH funded multi-center study, and anticonvulsant drug trials.
Books Edited (Recent)
1. Pediatric Epilepsy: Diagnosis and Therapy, Third Edition, Editors: Pellock JM, Dodson WE, Bourgeois BFD, Nordli DB, Sankar R. 2008, Demos Publishing, New York.
2. Epilepsy: Mechanisms, Models, and Translational Perspectives, Editors: Rho JM, Sankar R, Stafstrom C., 2010, CRC Press / Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, Florida.
Selected Recent Articles
1. Sankar R, Auvin S, Kwon YS, Pineda E, Shin D, Mazarati A. Evaluation of development-specific targets for antiepileptogenic therapy using rapid kindling. Epilepsia 51(Suppl. 3):39-42, 2010.
2. Auvin S, Shin D, Mazarati A, Sankar R. Inflammation induced by LPS enhances epileptogenesis in immature rat and may be partially reversible by IL-1Ra. Epilepsia 51(Suppl. 3):34-38, 2010.
3. Lerner, JT, Salamon N, Sankar R. Clinical profile of vigabatrin as monotherapy for the treatment of infantile spasms. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 6:731-740, 2010.
4. Sankar R, Glauser TA. Understanding therapeutic equivalence in epilepsy. CNS Spectr 15(2):112-123, 2010.
5. Zhao Y, Fung C, Shin D, Shin BC, Thamotharan S, Sankar R, Ehninger D, Silva A, Devaskar SU. Neuronal glucose transporter isoform 3 deficiency demonstrates features of the autism spectrum disorder. Mol Psychiatr 15:286-299, 2010.
6. Hemb M, Velasco TR, Parnes M, Wu JY, Lerner JT, Matsumoto J, Yudovin S, Shields WD, Sankar R, Salamon N, Vinters HV, and Mathern GW. Improved Outcomes in Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery: The UCLA Experience 1986 to 2008. Neurology 74:1768-1775, 2010.
7. Mazarati A, Pineda E, Shin D, Tio D, Taylor AN, Sankar R. Comorbidity between epilepsy and depression: role of hippocampal interleukin-1-beta. Neurobiol Dis 37:461-467, 2010.
8. Auvin S, Mazarati A, Shin D, Sankar R. Inflammation enhances epileptogenesis in the developing rat brain. Neurobiol Dis 40:303-310, 2010.
9. Wu JY, Salamon N, Kirsch H, Mantle MM, Nagarajan SS, Kurelowech L, Quint P, Sankar R, Shields WD, Mathern GW. Non-invasive testing, early surgery and seizure freedom in tuberous sclerosis complex. Neurology 74:392-398, 2010.
10. Wu JY, Sankar R, Lerner JT, Matsumoto, JH, Vinters HV, Mathern GW. Removing Interictal Fast Ripples on Electrocorticography Linked with Seizure Freedom in Children. Neurology 75:1686-1694, 2010.
11. Fung C, Shin D, Shin B-C, Sankar R, Chaudhuri G, Devaskar SU. Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury exacerbates neuronal apoptosis and precipitates spontaneous seizures in glucose transporter isoform 3 heterozygous null mice. J Neurosci Res 88:3386-3398, 2010.
12. Caplan R, Levitt J, Siddarth, P, Wu KN, Gurbani S, Shields WD, Sankar R. Language and Brain Volumes in Children with Epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 17:402-407, 2010.
13. Caplan R, Siddarth P, Levitt J, Gurbani S, Shields WD, Sankar R. Suicidality and brain volumes in pediatric epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 18:286-290, 2010.
14. Pineda EA, Hensler JG, Sankar R, Shin D, Burke TF, Mazarati AM. Plasticity of presynaptic and postsynaptic serotonin 1A receptors in an animal model of epilepsy-associated depression. Neuropsychopharmacology 2011 (Feb 23, Epub ahead of print)