Meet Dr. Danny Costello, Funded Investigator in UCC

Dr. Danny Costello has just joined FutureNeuro as a Funded Investigator. We asked him a few questions about his work and what he will be bringing to the centre.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Consultant Neurologist & Adult Epileptologist in Cork University Hospital and a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the College of Medicine and Health, University College Cork.

I graduated from University College Cork medical school in 1996 and completed the Irish SpR training scheme in Neurology in 2004. After that, I embarked on a clinical fellowship in Epilepsy & Neurophysiology at Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School. I then became an attending Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and faculty member at Harvard Medical School. I returned to Ireland in 2009 to take up my current role.  I am also the president of the Irish Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy. 

What will you be doing in FutureNeuro?

My research interests include the epidemiology of epilepsy, first seizures and the early natural history of epilepsy, epilepsy genetics, NORSE (‘new onset refractory status epilepticus’) and epilepsy-related neurodegeneration.

In FutureNeuro I will be:

  • participating and contributing to established FutureNeuro research projects particularly epilepsy genetics
  • investigating potential biomarkers of neuronal injury in newly diagnosed epilepsy and neurodegeneration in refractory epilepsy
  • progressing the epidemiological work already conducted within UCC 

How did you become interested in this type of research?

I have been involved in the care of people with epilepsy since 2004 and much of my working life is focussed on helping to deal with common epilepsy-related problems such as refractory seizures. This clinical experience helps to identify the research questions that translate into real-world benefits such as identifying an unrecognised cause of intellectual disability and severe epilepsy, identifying markers that predict refractory epilepsy, developing targeted treatments for rare forms of epilepsy and understanding the underlying mechanisms of epileptogenesis. In Ireland, we have a group of researchers who collaborate closely with clinicians to investigate these real-world problems.

What do you hope to achieve/ What will the benefit be for people with a neurological disease?

By collaborating with FutureNeuro, I believe that I can contribute to the field of epilepsy genetics, epilepsy epidemiology and epilepsy-related neuronal injury & neurodegeneration.

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