School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine


Epilepsy Basic Science Research Group

The faculty at Wayne State University School of Medicine is dedicated to bringing to bear the latest advances in basic research to promote a better understanding and to provide innovative new strategies to treat epilepsy. We strive to combine top national expertise in multiple basic and clinical sciences. Our research efforts span from basic mechanisms of synapse development to positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of brains of patients with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Clinical Research (Adult)

The clinical research of the Adult Epilepsy Program focuses on clinical neurophysiology aspects of the epilepsy with quantitative electrophysiology and clinical and electrophysiological correlation. Dr. Shah has a track record of working collaboratively on this project for many years and his efforts have been funded by several public and private grants. Our approach is to translate what we learn from clinical realm and to ascertain molecular makers and pathways important in epileptogenesis by measuring various electrical activities, and relate these to seizure activities, patterns of gene expression, and clinical/neurobehavioral aspects in patients with neocortical epilepsy. The other area of research involves studying long-term EEG monitoring in neurologically critically ill patients in ICU and develop new methods. We have recently examined the utility of a novel approach for real-time analysis of continuous EEG called Compressed EEG Pattern Analysis (CEPA) in collaboration with Stellate Systems of Montreal, Canada. We are also actively involved in neuroimaging research with state of the art imaging methods including functional MRI, volumetric MRI, in vivo MR spectroscopy using high strength (3T) magnet as well as extremely high filed magnet (11 T) in vitro with epileptic tissue. We collaboratively work with the Pediatric Epilepsy Program under supervision of Dr. Harry Chugani a world renowned PET researcher in the field. The other interest of Dr. Shah include study of women’s issue and clinical aspects of new onset peripartum seizures including intriguing conditions such as eclampsia. With recent addition of Dr. Sandeep Mittal trained in Epilepsy and Tumor surgery we are making concerted efforts to understand various aspects of seizures in patients with brain tumors.

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Program being a tertiary referral site evaluates patients with refractory epilepsies. Along with advanced medical management with medications and diet options in appropriate setting the program also offers evlauation for possible surgical treatment for these patients. we are also participant in many Phase 3 clinical trials with investigational antiepileptic medications.

Research and clinical interests of Aashit Shah, MD include epilepsy surgery, the quantitative analysis of EEG (qEEG) in the management of patients with intractable epilepsy and of patients in nonconvulsive status epilepticus including long-term EEG monitoring in ICU. Optimal management of women with epilepsy during pregnancy is another major interest of Dr Shah. He is actively involved in basic and clinical research in epilepsy funded by NIH and other external as well as internal agencies. He is conducting several clinical trials of investigational drugs for epilepsy that are not available in market or are available for a different indication. Dr Shah also was appointed Chief of Neurology at Detroit Receiving Hospital last year. He is involved heavily in training of the epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology fellows as well as residents, and serves as the Director of the Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship Program and the Director of the EEG/Evoked Potentials Laboratory. Dr Mittal's clinical work involves the surgical treatment of patients with brain tumors and intractable epilepsy. He has also established a translational research laboratory at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. His lab focuses on two main research programs involved in brain tumor neurobiology and epileptogenesis. He aims to determine the mechanisms involved in excessive neuronal activity in the peritumoral human cortex leading to refractory seizures. In collaboration with Drs Shah, Dr Mittal examines human brain tissue that is carefully mapped during brain tumor/epilepsy surgery in order to determine what makes focal regions of human brain epileptic. He is also actively looking into the molecular mechanisms and biochemical profile of epileptogenic brain tumors such as infiltrating gliomas and meningiomas.

With continued growth of clinical and research endeavors, the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program has recruited three additional epileptologists in the last two years.  Dr Maysaa Basha completed her medical school and neurology residency training at Wayne State University and obtained her training in Clinical Neurophysiology and Epilepsy at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.   Dr Basha’s primary clinical and research interests include the treatment of medically intractable epilepsy, EEG and seizure semiology analysis, and the use of new neuroimaging techniques in Epilepsy patients.  She is also active in medical education research with special interest in curriculum evaluation and development, teaching methodology, and resident assessment.

The second recruit is Dr Ruggero Serafini, MD, PhD. Dr Serafini is a graduate of Catholic University Medical School in Rome, Italy and obtained his PhD from Mario Negri Institute in Milan. His basic science research interests include neuronal cellular physiology, and he has worked extensively in the area both at Washington University in St Louis and Neurophysiology Laboratory of NIH-NINDS. He completed his residency training at the University of Toledo and Clinical Neurophysiology-Epilepsy fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital. His clinical interest includes difficult to treat epilepsy with specific focus on magneto- encephalography (MEG). He is establishing a cellular physiology laboratory at WSU to decipher basic neuronal physiology of epilepsy.

The third recruit is Dr. Deepti Zutshi, MDDr. Deepti Zutshi completed her medical training in the six-year BS/MD Honors Program in Medicine at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. She subsequently completed her residency in neurology and fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Zutshi’s primary clinical and research interests are in the field of long-term EEG monitoring in the critical care setting, medical education and particularly epilepsy and women’s health, particularly high risk pregnancy and epilepsy. Women with epilepsy who take anti-epileptic medications may have a two times higher risk of having a child with minor or major birth defects than women in the general population.  This may lead to the practice of women discontinuing their anti-epileptic medications. However, this is not a practical or safe option as it may expose the mother and fetus to physical harm if seizures occur. Therefore, education and counseling are essential in the management of all women of child-bearing age in the planning of a pregnancy. Furthermore, closer monitoring is needed during and in the early months after pregnancy to achieve optimal results for both mother and baby. Dr. Zutshi is offering a sub-specialty clinic for women with epilepsy who are planning to or have become pregnant to offer a wide-variety of services including counseling and management of anti-epileptic medications and epilepsy.  This high-risk pregnancy and epilepsy clinic offers women access to frequent clinic visits to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy and overall well-being of mother and baby.