In honor of our 10th anniversary, here is a spotlight on Judith L.Z. Weisenberg, MD. She is an Associate Professor of Neurology in the Division of Pediatric Neurology at Washington University, and Epilepsy Section Co-Director with Robin Ryther, MD, PhD of Washington University Rett Spectrum Clinic.
Where do you work?
Washington University School of Medicine/St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Tell us about your research. (Assume we know nothing!)
My research interests are in epilepsy and genetics. As an academic clinician, my primary role has been in observational or clinical trials. Over the years I have worked with numerous multi-center studies or individual small studies looking at our understanding of underlying genetic causes of epilepsy and the role of available treatments. I have been involved in the Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project, the Human Epilepsy Project, collaborated with the NF Center at Wash U looking at the incidence of epilepsy in Neurofibromatosis 1 and the Rett Syndrome Natural History Study. In the past few years, we have begun to get established in gathering more observational data on CDKL5 as well as the other Rett spectrum conditions and I have taken on my first experience as a site Primary Investigator for a therapeutic trial for the Marigold study.
What interests you most about your area of study?
I have always been fascinated by genetics and I am particularly hopeful that this will be the key to unlocking more effective treatments for conditions such as CDD.
When was the moment you first fell in love with science?
I first truly fell in love with science and medicine in 7th grade. I was blessed with wonderful science teachers in 7th-9th grade who helped me realize how fascinating biology truly is. In 9th grade, I realized that I could use this knowledge to help others by practicing medicine. I had a few amazing role models in my pediatrician growing up, my father (an adult neurologist who spent his career working to improve the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, also my first exposure to a comprehensive multi-specialty clinic) and a family member who had to deal with a serious medical condition as a child. I first became inspired to try and do more for CDD in 2009 when I met my first patient with CDD. Shortly thereafter 2 other young ladies came into my care and it seemed like a sign.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When I am not working, I enjoy reading books. I am an avid fiction reader. I also love spending time with my family, especially my husband and 3 children.