Epilepsy Summer School

About the Summer Course

Presentation of the Bridging San Servolo Course

San Servolo Advanced Epilepsy Summer School Bridging Basic with Clinical Epileptology Introduction to the San Servolo Advanced Epilepsy Summer Courses.

The idea of an Advanced Epilepsy Summer Course was conceived in 2001 by a founding Committee composed by Giuliano Avanzini, Marco de Curtis, Francesco Paladin, Yehezkel Ben Ari, Pete Engel, Uwe Heinemann, Istvan Mody, Nico Moshe, Tim Pedley, and Peter Wolf. The founding group devised and elaborated on the idea of bringing together young neuroscientists and clinicians from the five Continents with an established interest in epilepsy research, and of training them to design a research project on clinically relevant epilepsy issues using state-of-the-art methodologies and techniques.

The first Course, aptly entitled Bridging basic with clinical epileptology, was organized in the summer of 2002 under the patronage of the International School of Neurological Sciences in Venice (ISNV). It was decided to set the Course at the ISNV didactic facilities of Venice International University (VIU) on the San Servolo island, a location ideally suited for residential Courses. During the 2002 Course, 40 students from 24 Countries with different clinical and neurobiological background were selected and worked together for 2 weeks under the supervision of an International faculty of tutors.

The commitment of the faculty and the motivation of the trainees contributed to the great success of the Course, thus prompting ISNV to recognize the Advanced International Epilepsy Summer Course as a vital yearly educational event. The enthusiasm of both students and tutors during the process of research project elaboration that represented the main original teaching element of the Course was a success, and encouraged us to make this the core of the Course programs that followed since 2002. The Course has become an unparalleled opportunity to foster translational research and meets a great unmet need in the epilepsy community, educating scientists in clinical epileptology and clinicians in scientific method and advances.

The Epilepsy Summer School has been given a permanent organization under the supervision of a Scientific Committee composed by G. Avanzini (ISNV President and Summer School Director), F. Paladin (ISNV Director), M. de Curtis (Summer School co-founder) and by Course Directors. The Course Secretariat is managed by Metella Paterlini (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with the on-site assistance of Valentina Guarino. Yearly Courses were arranged on different topics and the concept of “bridging” was maintained as a leitmotiv to foster interactions between scientists with different expertise in epilepsy care/research. A rotation of three main epilepsy themes – therapies, pediatric epilepsy, epilepsy surgery - interposed every 3 years by a Bridging basic and clinical epileptology Course was planned. The Scientific Committee designed for each Course two Directors with a high profile in the International Epilepsy scene.

In order to create a durable link with ILAE activities, it was decided that one of the Directors of each Course would be the Chair of the ILAE Commission pertinent to the main focus of the Course. Every year, circa 50 students are selected by the Course Directors to ensure a balance between clinical/scientific background (basic scientists and clinicians with different expertise - neurologists, pediatricians, neurophysiologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons), gender and geographical origin.

Since 2002 the following Courses were organized:

  1. Bridging basic with clinical epileptology (1). 21/7- 4/8 2002; Directors: G. Avanzini & A. Mrabet
  2. From basic knowledge to rational prescribing. 10-21/7 2003; Directors: E. Perucca & T. Tomson
  3. Epilepsy in children: neurobiology, clinic, therapeutics. 11-22/7 2004; Directors: R. Guerrini & S. Moshé
  4. Bridging basic with clinical epileptology (2). 18-27/7 2005; Directors: M. de Curtis & E. A. Cavalheiro
  5. Surgically remediable epilepsies. 27/7-8/8 2006; Directors: G. Wieser & G. Lo Russo
  6. Clinical-therapeutic approaches to childhood epilepsy. 23/7-3/8 2007; Directors: H. Cross & B. Dalla Bernardina
  7. Bridging basic with clinical epileptology (3). 27/7-8/8 2008; Directors: U. Heinemann & M. de Curtis
  8. From Basic Knowledge to rational prescribing (2). 19-30/7 2010; Directors M. Baulac & M. Schachter
  9. Bridging Basic with Clinical Epileptology (4). 17-29/7 2011; Directors: M. de Curtis, A. Nehlig & J. Noebels
  10. Management of seizures and epilepsies in neonate and infants. 14-26/7 2012; Directors: F. Vigevano & P. Plouin
  11. Brain exploration and epilepsy surgery. 14-26/7 2013; Directors: R. Spreafico & T. Tanaka
  12. Bridging Basic with Clinical Epileptology (5). 20/7 -1/8, 2014; Directors: M. de Curtis & J. Engel
  13. Seizures and Epilepsies in Childhood: co-morbidities, advocacy, guidelines. 19-31/7 2015; Directors: J. Wilmhurst & S. Vecchi
  14. Brain exploration and epilepsy surgery (2). 10-23/7 2016; Directors: L. Tassi & I. Bluemcke
  15. Bridging Basic with Clinical Epileptology (6). 17/7 -28/7, 2017; Directors: G. Avanzini & M. de Curtis
  16. Epilepsies in childhood and adolescence: diagnosis, management, evolution and transition to adult medical care. 16/7 -27/7, 2018; Directors: T. Granata & R. Nabbout

Moreover, on June 21-24 2009, a San Servolo Course Alumni Conference was held in Pécs (Hungary) in conjunction with the centennial anniversary of the ILAE foundation (Epil. Res. 2010 89:1-161. PMID: 20560186).

The Course Bridging Basic with Clinical Epileptology was replicated for 5 editions (the 6th is planned for 2017) and has been the most successful in terms of attendance and participation. This Course covers the unmet opportunity for both students and faculties with a neuroscience and clinical background to expose and be exposed to new ideas and methodologies in epilepsy research.

The uniqueness of the training offered during the San Servolo Courses relies on three main features:

  1. San Servolo School organization selects students with diverse backgrounds, from neurosurgery to basic science;
  2. the School has granted over 15 years of activity fellowship to support the participation of scientists and clinicians from less privileged Countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America;
  3. the Course is based on the development of a research project under the tutorship of Internationally renowned senior scientists/clinicians.

This format has a distinctive didactic power that is still unmet in the context of International educational events in the field of epilepsy. One of the criteria for the selection of students at San Servolo Courses is geographical heterogenicity. Candidates from Countries with limited resources represent circa 50% of the total applicants; the participation of these students to San Servolo Courses is guaranteed by a variable number of fellowships (15-25) per year.



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