University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Gerald Downes

Associate Professor, Biology
Family Research Scholar, 2014-15



Gerald Downes examines cellular and molecular mechanisms that are essential for neural network function. Epilepsies are the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States, and many forms are resistant to current treatments. As a Family Research Scholar, Downes developed a proposal titled, “Using Zebrafish to Better Understand and Treat Epilepsies.” The aim of this project was to leverage the advantages of zebrafish for rapid genetic and behavioral analysis to develop new animal models of human epilepsies. These new models will be used to investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms disrupted in epilepsies and screen for new antiepileptic drugs.