Meet Dr. Samuel Berkovic

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Hope for HH is co-sponsoring the 4th International Symposium on Hypothalamic Hamartomas – a professional symposium for HH investigators, clinicians and researchers – in Washington DC Sept. 12-14. The Symposium aims to identify gaps in understanding and opportunities for future HH research studies and collaborations to improve diagnosis, treatment and care of both the seizures as well as the other endocrinological and neuropsychological symptoms.  

In this blog series, we will introduce you to several internationally recognized clinicians and researchers who are thought leaders both inside and outside of HH and who will serve as facilitators, presenters and discussants at the Symposium. Highlights of the Symposium will also be available to the HH patient and professional community following the meeting.

Meet Dr. Samuel Berkovic

Samuel F. Berkovic AM, MD, FAA, FRACP, FRS is Laureate Professor in the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, and Director of the Epilepsy Research Centre at Austin Health. He is a clinical neurologist and clinical researcher with a special interest in establishing close research links with basic scientists. His group, together with molecular genetic collaborators in Adelaide and Germany, discovered the first gene for epilepsy in 1995 and subsequently have been involved the discovery of many of the known epilepsy genes. This has changed the conceptualization of the causes of epilepsy and is having a major impact on epilepsy research, and on strategies for diagnosis and development of new treatments. He is currently a principal investigator of Epi4K, the NINDS Epilepsy Genetics ‘Center without Walls’. He also has active research interests in surgical evaluation and outcome, new onset seizures, treatment of epilepsy and imaging in epilepsy and in Australia heads a large Program Grant integrating genetic, imaging and physiological studies in epilepsy. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2007.    

Dr. Berkovic will be facilitating a session during the Symposium on
“HH Research Updates and Opportunities.”  One of the 6 updates will include newsfrom Dr. Berkovic’s colleague Michael Hildebrand. Dr. Berkovic has a long view on HH and we are lucky to have his continued expertise and interest in the HH community. 


What is your specialty training and background?

 I am an adult neurologist specializing in Epilepsy with a special interest in genetics. I trained in Melbourne and did my post-doc/Fellowship in Montreal.


How did you become interested in HH research and care? What are your contributions to the HH field of research and care? 

During my fellowship in Montreal in the mid 1980s, hypothalamic hamartomas (HH) was just becoming appreciated due to advances in MRI and my mentor, Dr. Fred Andermann was interested in HH as we saw a few cases together at the Montreal Neurological Institute.  I wrote a paper with Dr. Andermann, published in 1988, that described the evolution of the epileptic syndrome of HH. Subsequently I have been involved with further clinical descriptions of the disorder, with imaging and with the early surgical approaches (led by my colleagues Drs. Harvey and Rosenfeld).  Currently, my group is very active in working on the genetics of this disorder


The Symposium is important because

Bringing people together who work on a condition, especially if rare, is very important to synergize knowledge and research.  I  hope that it will give caregivers and patients a real sense that researchers care about their challenges and that there really is hope!


Outside of work passions

Spending time with my grandkids and trying to stay fit!

Call To Action

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