Volodymyr Dzhala, PhD

  • Instructor in Neurology, Harvard Medical School
  • Assistant in Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Neurology
  • MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Staley Lab



Research Description

My research efforts are to increase our understanding of the cause and course of pediatric epilepsy and to develop beneficial therapies. Seizures are one of the most common neurological conditions (second after migraine) encountered in humans. While seizures can occur at any age, they are far more common in children than adults. In neonatal intensive care units seizures occur in 1- 2 % of neonates, but there is no agreement concerning either the most appropriate diagnostic tests or the most appropriate treatment for such infants. Understanding epilepsy in this age group is difficult because the factors that trigger seizures are altered by the complexities of brain development. 

Studies in animal models have demonstrated the major developmental changes in the effects of inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA on neuronal network activity. We discovered a causal link between the developmental changes in the action of GABA, the higher propensity to seizures and anticonvulsant resistance in the immature brain. Our long-term specific aims are to determine the long-lasting dynamic changes in the action of GABA following brain trauma, hypoxia and seizures, and to correlate these changes with transition to the status epilepticus and with epileptogenesis.                                                                                                  

Research interests

Synaptic transmission and excitability of neuronal networks
Modulation and plasticity of intrinsic and integrative properties of neurons
Neuronal & network mechanisms of epilepsy 

Research Techniques

Electrophysiology and biophysics laboratory techniques (extracellular multiple-electrode recording, intracellular recording, single-channel patch clamp); long-term optical imaging, two-photon microscopy

Diseases studied Epilepsy
Selected publications
  1. Dzhala V.,  Brumback A., Staley K. Bumetanide enhances Phenobarbital efficacy in a neonatal seizure model. Annals of Neurology 2008 Feb;63(2):222-35.
  2. Dzhala V., Talos D., Sdrulla D., Brumback A., Mathews G., Benke T., Delpire E., Jensen     F., Staley K. NKCC1 transporter facilitates seizures in the developing brain. Nature Medicine 2005; 11(11): 1205-1213.
  3. Dzhala V., Staley K. Mechanisms of fast ripples in the hippocampus. J Neurosci 2004; 24(40): 8896-8906.
  4. Dzhala V., Staley K. Transition from interictal to ictal activity in limbic networks in vitro. J Neurosci 2003; 23(21):  7873-7880.
  5. Dzhala V., Ben-Ari Y., Khazipov R. Seizures accelerate anoxia-induced neuronal death in the neonatal rat hippocampus. Annals of Neurology 2000; 48(4): 632-40.
NCBI PubMed link NCBI PubMed Publications
NIH biosketch Volodymyr Dzhala, PhD
E-mail address

Lab mailing address

Massachusetts General Hospital
Neurology, B114-2600
114 16th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

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