Surprises and revelations in a career in epilepsy research

Published:February 03, 2015DOI:
      In retrospect, there was really no rationale for finding myself committed to a career in epilepsy research. It was a surprise — and ultimately, a fortunate one. Although I had long assumed that I would be a research scientist and that I would study the brain, I had no particular interest in epilepsy (or, for that matter, no understanding of what epilepsy really was). I was not a clinical investigator. My goal was to be a basic neuroscientist, to understand how we learned and how we remembered — i.e., to understand the basic mechanisms of cognitive behavior. But because of the vagaries of the war in Vietnam (I was a conscientious objector, carrying out alternative service after I received my PhD), I found myself in David Prince's epilepsy laboratory at Stanford University. There I discovered that I could pursue my interests in brain plasticity within the context of studying a clinically important disorder that affected millions of people [
      • Schwartzkroin P.A.
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      ]. [It is somewhat of a puzzle to me why more young scientists who are focused on basic brain mechanisms, and who seek to explore the mysteries of how our brain works, are not drawn to such clinically important lines of study within which they can pursue their basic science interests.]
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