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Research & PhD opportunities

The Epilepsy Research Group was established in 2007 and has a strong commitment to improving the quality of life for children with epilepsy and their families. The group is led by Professor Lynette Sadleir and receives funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and Cure Kids. The group works closely with the Epilepsy Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia led by Laureate Professor Ingrid Scheffer and Laureate Professor Samuel Berkovic, and is also associated with other international epilepsy research consortiums including Epi4K and Epi25.

The Epilepsy Research Group's main focus is the genetics of epilepsy. There are over 2,000 New Zealanders affected by epilepsy participating in this project at the present time and more being recruited each year.

Potential PhD, Master's and BMedSc(Hons) projects

Clinical epilepsy genetics

Suitable for medical graduates with an interest in becoming a clinician researcher in paediatrics, neurology, or genetics.

  • Clinical genetic family studies: defining new and refining emerging epilepsy syndromes
  • Epileptic encephalopathies; moving towards precision medicine – identifying genetic aetiology and potential therapeutic options
  • Defining the phenotype of newly identified genetic encephalopathies


Suitable for a medical, nursing or science graduate with an interest in paediatrics, neurology, neuroscience or EEG.

  • Sedation for paediatric EEG – what medication sedates without eliminating epileptiform abnormalities?
  • EEG activation procedures – what is necessary?

Clinical Epilepsy

Suitable for a medical, nursing, public health or science graduate with an interest in epilepsy or public health.

  • Epilepsy management in New Zealand: the impact of the introduction of paediatric epilepsy guidelines into New Zealand
  • Epilepsy: how can we come out of the shadows in the New Zealand Health system – measuring, resourcing and accountability

Epilepsy and Genetic Education

Suitable for a medical, nursing, public health, science or science communication graduate with an interest in epilepsy, genetics and/or education.

  • Epilepsy undergraduate education: what do they need to know and how should it be taught?
  • Relaying complex information in an understandable way – improving genetic literacy
  • Research literacy: how can we improve the patient understanding of the quality of drug trial research (e.g. medicinal marijuana).

To enquire about research opportunities:

Tel +64 4 918 6147

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The Epilepsy Research Group supporting Cure Kids' annual Red Nose Day (2018).

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