Skip to main content

Our Research Focus


The Parrish lab is addressing key questions related to epilepsy and seizure disorders. We are particularly interested in mechanisms of endogenous inhibitory restraint and spontaneous seizure termination. Understanding how the brain prevents the spread of seizures across cortical tissue and how seizures terminate on their own likely hold key insights into novel approaches to prevent seizures. We have a keen interest in a phenomenon known as a cortical spreading depression, represented as a slow wave of glia and neuronal depolarization followed by a period of neuronal suppression. These events often follow seizures in the brain and are likely the same events that are termed post-ictal depressions, observed on EEGs in the clinic. Interestingly, cortical spreading depressions are also believed to be the cellular correlate of migraines. Using optogenetic tools and electrophysiology, we have discovered a novel and exciting way to induce these cortical spreading depressions, which will allow our lab to gain new insight into these events and understand their relationship to both seizure termination and migraines.

In addition, we are very interested in status epilepticus, a prolonged seizure event that is a major medical emergency and often resistant to all known treatments. If the seizure cannot be stopped, status epilepticus is life threating. We have very exciting data, acquired using CMOS multielectrode array recordings, that provide a powerful way to gain new mechanistic insight into how status epilepticus becomes pharmacoresistant. In addition, this data may also help us understand how different brain regions are recruited into status epilepticus and allow us to test novel pharmacology to aid in our fight against seizure disorders and particularly status epilepticus.

Much of our work is wet lab based. We welcome students wanting to engage with wet lab projects; however, due to the complexity of the data acquired, we are also focused on novel data analysis tools (for example, see: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2022.904931). Therefore, if you have a keen interest in neuroscience and enjoy coding, our lab could also be a good fit for you.

Dr. R. Ryley Parrish

Cell Biology and Physiology Assistant Professor
3051 LSB
(801) 422-6399
ryley_parrish@byu.edu