Assistant Dean, South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program/ Professor, Neurology
Dr. José Cavazos's lab studies activity-dependent plasticity in the hippocampal formation in the developing, adult, and aged brain using a variety of experimental models of epilepsy, seizures, and epileptogenesis. Previous studies from our laboratory have shown that repeated seizures induce progressive neuronal death and axon sprouting that permanently alter the hippocampal circuitry lending it more susceptible to additional seizures and memory dysfunction.
We currently are investigating the molecular mechanisms that link the synchronous neuronal hyperexcitability with these morphological events. We investigate the features of seizure-induced axon sprouting in other limbic circuitries using anatomical tracing techniques, and their electrophysiological consequences in the neuronal excitability of the abnormally connected circuitry using brain slices and in-vivo using electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques. We also have several ongoing clinical projects about people with epilepsy, particularly, focusing on the utilization of anticonvulsants.