Rice University statistics alumna Sharon Chiang, now a resident physician in the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Neurology, has received the 2019 Clinical Epilepsia Open Prize for a paper she wrote while at Rice.
The prize, presented by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), went to the lead author, Chiang, who graduated from Rice with a Ph.D. in STAT in 2016 and an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in 2018.
Titled “Epilepsy as a dynamic disease: A Bayesian model for differentiating seizure risk from natural variability,” the paper was published last year in Epilepsia Open, the open-access journal of ILAE.
Chiang’s co-authors are her doctoral adviser, Marina Vannucci, Noah Harding Professor and STAT department chair; Dr. Daniel Goldenholz, Division of Epilepsy, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Robert Moss, cofounder of Seizure Tracker; Dr. John M. Stern, director of the Epilepsy Clinical Program in the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA.
The researchers used data from SeizureTracker.com, a patient‐reported diary that has logged more than 1.2 million seizures in eight years. Seizure frequency does not necessarily correspond to changes in underlying risk, resulting in unpredictability and ineffective adjustments to medication. The work by Chiang and the others suggests that risk assessment at the individual patient level can be improved by means other than observed seizure frequencies.
Papers are nominated by the ILEA’s associate editors and members of its editorial board, with the final selection made by the editors-in-chief and the ILAE president.
Chiang will formally receive the award at the 33rd International Epilepsy Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, June 22-26.