Ohio Wesleyan Professor Earns NIH Grant to Study Epilepsy
Funding to Support Summer Research with OWU Students for Next Five Years
DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University’s Christian G. Fink, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neuroscience and of physics and astronomy, has earned National Institutes of Health funding to support his research into epilepsy.
Fink, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2013, will collaborate with neurologist William C. Stacey, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, to investigate an abnormal brain rhythm often observed in people with epilepsy, a chronic medical condition characterized by recurring seizures.
“In the long term, the hope is that this line of research will eventually enable the prediction of epileptic seizures, thereby helping to improve the lives of people with epilepsy,” Fink said. “The grant will provide funding for an OWU student to conduct summer research with me for the next five years.”
Fink said his $61,000 NIH grant also will allow the students to travel with him to present their findings at professional scientific conferences.
His grant-funded project, “Characterizing High-Frequency Oscillations as an Epilepsy Biomarker with Big Data Tools,” involves using a computational model of the hippocampus to investigate whether a specific type of brain rhythm indicates the presence of epilepsy. If so, the rhythm – known as a high-frequency oscillation – eventually could play a more prominent role in predicting and controlling the disorder, which impacts approximately 1 percent of the world’s population.
Fink earned his undergraduate degree in physics at Taylor University and both his master’s degree in electrical engineering and his doctorate in physics at the University of Michigan. In addition to epilepsy research, Fink also is interested in the role neuronal synchronization plays in generating brain rhythms.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 87 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,675 students represent 43 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.