The mission statement of the lab is to improve the quality of life in children with epilepsy, autism, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Interests: Developmental epilepsy, the relationship between epilepsy and autism, and bone comorbidities in epilepsy.
I investigate how seizures during different periods of neurodevelopment result in long-term changes in learning and memory, social behavior, and repetitive/stereotyped behaviors. I also investigate the neural mechanisms that mediate these changes through molecular and imaging techniques. In particular, I am examining how seizures induce changes in the mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways and how these changes lead to alterations in potassium channels and other synaptic proteins.
My interest in examining behavioral changes is also why I am examining the link between autism and epilepsy. Children with epilepsy have a high comorbidity with autism but the underlying mechanism is not known. I plan to investigate how seizures could lead to autistic-like behavior in mice.
My third research question is how seizures during early development impact brain growth and bone growth. We use genetic and chemoconvulant models of epilepsy and determine their bone phenotype in adulthood.
Dr. Joaquin Lugo
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Waco, TX 76798
Additional appointment in the Institute of Biomedical Studies and in the department of Biology at Baylor University.