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Spotlight: Orrin Devinsky, MD


In honor of our 10th anniversary, here is a spotlight on Orrin Devinsky, MD, who is Director of the NYU Epilepsy Center and Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience & Psychiatry at NYU Langone School of Medicine.

Where do you work?

I work at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

Tell us about your research. (Assume we know nothing!)

My research focuses on diverse topics – from helping to develop new medications and therapies to improving awareness of strategies to reduce seizures and their consequences by lifestyle (eg, better sleep) and tailoring medications (type of medication and timing/schedule) to individual patients.

In CDKL5 research, my focus has been helping to develop new medications (eg, cannabidiol, ganaxalone, fenfluramine) and genetic therapies (eg, CRISPR, tRNA approaches) as well better understanding the range and classification of seizures, and developing tools to make both physicians and parents more consistent in how we classify seizures in CDD patients.

What interests you most about your area of study?

The opportunity to partner across lines that were much less fluid when I started in medicine. Now, families are leading the charge to develop new therapies and create state-of-the art natural history databases. Similarly, industry partners are critical collaborators. I love the cross-fertilization across disciplines and perspectives.

When was the moment you first fell in love with science?

I fell in love with science and medicine as a young boy. By 6th grade, all I wanted to do when I wasn’t playing sports or eating was to read about biology.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I have trouble not working, so I work too much, but by choice. I love evolutionary biology and nutrition and am basically a science junkie. But I love my family and friends, many foods, biking and napping.