About Kevin Staley, MD

Kevin J. Staley

Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Child Neurology and Mental Retardation, Harvard Medical School 

Unit Chief, Pediatric Neurology, Mass General Hospital Department of Neurology

Kevin Staley received his MD degree from the University of California, San Diego. He was a granted a Dana Fellowship and completed his postdoctoral research training at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Staley studies neuronal ion transport in neonatal seizures and neural network dysfunction in epilepsy.

He has served as Co-Chair of the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Mechanisms of Epilepsy and Neuronal Synchronization, Chair of the Investigator's Workshop Committee and the Research and Training Committee of the American Epilepsy Society, as Chair of the Research Council and the Fellowship Selection Committee of the Epilepsy Foundation of America, Chair of the NINDS Board of Scientific Counselors, Co-Chair of the 2013 NINDS Curing Epilepsy Conference, and Co-Chair of the Workshop on Neurobiology of the Epilepsies-(ILAE). 

In 2015 Dr. Staley was granted the Senator Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award by the NINDS and the American Epilepsy Society Research Recognition Award for Basic Science. He is a Reviewing Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience, serves on the Annals of Neurology Editorial Board and is Co-Director of the MGH Infant Brain Center.

He is currently the Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Child Neurology and Mental Retardation, Harvard Medical School.

Clinical Interests:



Mass General for Children: Pediatric Neurology
55 Fruit St.
Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
Suite 6B
Boston, MA 02114
Renee Mendes, Patient Services Coordinator: 617-724-6400

Medical Education

  • MD, UC San Diego School of Medicine
  • Residency, UC San Diego Main Campus
  • Residency, UC San Diego Main Campus
  • Residency, University of Colorado Health Center
  • Fellowship, Stanford University Medical Center

American Board Certifications

  • Neurology with Special Qualifications in Child Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

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Pediatric Epilepsy Research Lab

Neurology Research Investigator Profile

Our long-term research goal is the development of new approaches to the treatment of epilepsy based on a clearer understanding of the necessary steps in seizure initiation and propagation.

The two major themes in the lab are neuronal ion transport and the spread of activity in neural networks. Neuronal ion transport underlies signaling at all fast synapses. The importance of neuronal ion transport was underscored by our recent discovery that reversed ion transport in the immature brain was blocking the effects of the anticonvulsants most commonly used to treat neonatal seizures, and that a safe and well-characterized diuretic could ameliorate this condition.

Our work on the spread of excitation in neural networks combines fluorescent imaging of network activity with computerized analysis and modeling to understand how normal and abnormal signaling progresses through neural networks. We have found evidence for reentrant or circular patterns of neural activity that resemble cardiac fibrillation and precede seizures. We are currently testing whether this reentrant activation of neural circuits is the earliest stage of a seizure, and the stage at which intervention is most effective. We are also testing whether long-term reductions in the strength of synaptic connections between neurons in epileptic networks can reduce the probability of seizures.


    1. Glykys J,  Staley  KJ. Diazepam effect during early neonatal development correlates with neuronal CL. Annals of Clinical Neurology, September 16, 2015, doi: 10.10002/acn7.259
    2. Shapiro KA, McGuone D, Deshpande V, Sadow PM, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Staley KJ. Failure to detect human papillomavirus in focal cortical dysplasia type II, Annals of Neurology, Volume 78, Number 1, 1 July 2015, pp. 63-67
    3. Dzhala V, Staley KJ. Acute and Chronic Efficacy of Bumetanide in an in vitro Model of Posttraumatic Epileptogenesis. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2015 Feb; 21(2):173-80.
    4. Lillis KP, Wang Z, Berdichevsky Y, Mail M, Zhao G, Bacskai B, Staley KJ.  Evolution of network synchronization during early epileptogenesis parallels synaptic circuit alterations. J Neurosci., 2015 Jul 8; 35(27):9920-34
    5. Kyung-Il Park, Volodymyr Dzhala, Yero Saponjian, Kevin J. Staley.  What elements of the inflammatory system are necessary for epileptogenesis In Vitro. eNeuro. Mar 2015, 2 (2) DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0027-14.2015
    6. Lillis KP, Dulla C, Maheshwari A, Coulter D, Mody I, Heinemann U, Armbruster M, ??iburkus J., WONOEP appraisal: Molecular and cellular imaging in epilepsy. Epilepsia 56:505–513. 2015
    7. Kevin Staley, Molecular Mechanisms of Epilepsy. Nature Neuroscience. 18, 367-372, doi:10.1038/nn 3947, 2015

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