Javits awards are given annually by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to recognize researchers whose work is supported by the institute and who have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity. Baram is the ninth UCI researcher to receive this award.
Baram, the Danette "Dee Dee" Shepard Chair in Neurological Sciences, is founder and executive committee chair of UCI's Epilepsy Research Center. As a researcher, she is considered the world's leading investigator of the basic neural mechanisms involved in childhood febrile seizures -- seizures caused by high fever -- and how prolonged febrile seizures might lead to the onset of adult epilepsy.
"Dr. Baram has richly earned this award for her innovative epilepsy research, which is giving us both a better understanding of epilepsy disorders and therapeutic benefits to patients," said Dr. Thomas C. Cesario, dean of the School of Medicine.
Baram's work has defined the molecular changes within brain cells that are caused by early-life febrile seizures. She has studied how fever interacts with the brain to generate seizures, and how brain imaging can define individuals who are at risk for epilepsy after prolonged febrile seizures.
Her research also has helped establish an understanding of the neurobiology behind infantile spasms, a devastating form of epilepsy in infants. Her research on this topic also identifies targets for the design of new and more effective drugs that may help calm these childhood seizures without the side effects of drugs designed for adults.