ECD Group Members

Principal Investigators

Gregory L. Holmes, M.D.

HolmesPediatric neurologist and the Chair of the Department of Neurological Sciences who has both clinical and research interests in childhood epilepsy. He is widely published as a researcher focusing on the delineation, effects and treatment of pediatric/developmental epilepsy. In addition to being active in professional society and hospital committees, he has served on the editorial boards of 10 epilepsy and neurology journals and has been on multiple NIH study sections. Dr. Holmes has also reviewed grants from around the world including Canada, Israel, Australia, France, the UK and Belgium. He is the past president of the American Epilepsy Society and has received many honors including the American Epilepsy Society Research Award, Basic Science Award (1989), Pierre Gloor Research Award, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (2001), Hoyer Lecturer, National Institutes of Health (2009) and Sachs Lecturer, Child Neurology Society (2009). Dr. Holmes is also the chief physician for Camp Wee Kan Tu, a camp for children with epilepsy. Developing therapy to prevent epilepsy has been a lifelong goal.

Jeremy Barry, Ph.D.

Barry, Jeremy2croppedMy name is Jeremy Barry, and I'm an assistant professor in the department of Neurological Sciences. I’ve carved out a unique niche that bridges basic and translational science by employing a systems neuroscience approach to the origins of cognitive deficits that accompany pediatric seizures. The culmination of this work has been my formalization of the temporal coordination theory, which states that a network’s ability to dynamically organize cell activity relative to theta oscillations, both within and between relevant neural circuits, is necessary for normal cognition and is frequently disrupted as a long-term consequence of seizures experienced in early life. This theory is therefore of great relevance to basic scientists interested in the organization of spike timing in relation to cognition as well as translational scientists that are concerned with how neurological insults in early development affect cognitive outcomes. Apart from my success in both formulating and providing initial evidence for a new theory, I have become recognized for pushing the boundaries of technical limitations in neuroscience research. I was the first to formally characterize the electrophysiological properties of propagating action potentials along axons in freely moving animals, carried out pioneering work that suggests preempting transcriptional factor changes following pediatric seizures can improve cognitive outcomes, and have recently developed new tools for the simultaneous optical control and measurement of oscillations in the medial septum in order to effectively pace oscillations in both subfields of the dorsal hippocampus. My work with in vivo optogenetics is now serving as a foundation for multiple NIH grants that aim to further test the temporal coordination theory in spatial cognition and incorporate closed-loop optical interfaces with hippocampal circuit physiology in order to correct pathological spike timing changes caused by early-life seizures.


Graduate Students

Jeff BrabecJeffBrabec 

My name is Jeff Brabec and I am a first-year graduate student working in Matt Mahoney’s lab. I received my B.S. in Biochemistry from Juniata College in central Pennsylvania. While in undergrad I worked in two different labs where I studied everything from differential gene expression in oligodendrocytes to the influence of the gut microbiome on human health. I am using bioinformatic tools to identify if there are drugs used to treat other diseases that may prove effective in the treatment, and possible prevention of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. When I’m not in lab I like to run on one of the many trails around Burlington.


Erin Cullen 

My name is Erin Cullen and I am a PhD student with Dr. Matt Weston. I grew up outside Rochester, NY and received my B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. My research journey began during my first year there and I went on to spend two and a half years in Dr. Kirk Erickson’s lab, examining the impacts of physical activity on gray matter structure in adults. Within neuroscience, I am most interested in determining the causes and consequences of abnormal brain activity, especially in epilepsy.

Willie Curry

WillieMy name is Willie Curry, and I am a sixth year PhD student with Dr. Rod Scott in the NGP program at the University of Vermont. I earned my B.A. in Psychology at the University of Arkansas, and moved up to Burlington in 2013. Besides brain stuff, I love reading (mostly sci-fi and Edwardian/Victorian literature), video games, and all facets of Japanese culture. I also have an (un)healthy obsession with music; my ongoing projects include writing a rock opera, assembling a sound installation, and thinking of ways to be Pete Townshend.

Montana Kay Lara

MontanaMontana is an NGP graduate student working in the Mahoney lab. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Political Science from California Lutheran University. In the lab, she is working to establish a model for tuberous sclerosis complex, a genetic disease presenting with epilepsy and associated neurological disorders, in order to identify unique genetic modifiers across a panel of complex phenotypes. Additionally, she is using network-based computational methods that integrate functional genomic networks with machine learning to nominate and prioritize quantitative trait genes for different diseases. She likes dogs, bikes, and cookies. 

Seamus Mawe

My name is Seamus Mawe, I am a PhD student in the Complex Systems program under the supervision of Matt Mahoney. I graduated from the university of Vermont in 2017 with a degree in Mathematics with a focus on Statistics. I am working on building a transfer-learning pipeline to analyze stained images with a deep neural network. Outside the lab I am something of a bookworm and am currently rereading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Tyra Martinez
My name is Tyra Martinez and I am a Master's Student in Dr. Hernan's lab. I am primarily interested in the role of signaling modulation through melanocortin 4 receptors on astrocytes in preventing deleterious changes after early life seizures.
Matt McCabe

McCabeMy name is Matt McCabe. I am a fifth year graduate student in the Weston lab. I graduated from University of Missouri in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Political Science. I am primarily interested in the cellular and network-level etiology of genetic epilepsies. In particular, my work focuses on synaptic abnormalities in in vitro cortical networks derived from genetically epileptic mice.




Lab Techs

Khalil Abed Rabbo
Rhys Niedecker 

I am currently doing Optogenetic and EEG research with Dr. Barry on septal-hippocampal circuits. We are studying the phasal and rhythmical relationships of neurological circuits on memory and spatial awareness.  



May 2015 behind Stafford Halllabphoto2