Jeanne Paz’s lab aims to improve the outcome for patients with stroke, brain injuries, and epilepsy by studying these disorders in animal models and identifying potential targets for new therapeutic interventions. A signature approach in her lab is optogenetics, which allows her team to disrupt the function of specific brain cells in live animals. Using this approach, the group identified a brain region called the thalamus as a choke point for various forms of epilepsy—and a promising target for future therapies. Current research includes the role of the immune system in regulating neural circuit function and understanding how to boost the brain’s ability to recover after injury to prevent debilitating consequences such as epilepsy and neurocognitive deficits.

Disease Areas

Alzheimer’s Disease
Dravet Syndrome
Traumatic Brain Injury

Areas of Expertise

Electrophysiology (in vitro and in vivo)
Miniature Brain Microscopes
Seizure Prediction
Working in the Paz lab

Lab Focus

Understanding what makes certain brain regions and cells more vulnerable to neurodegeneration after stroke and brain injury in order to boost brain’s resilience and prevent long-term consequences such as epilepsy.
Understanding the anatomical and physiological changes in neurodegenerative diseases that cause epilepsy and cognitive deficits.
Identifying biomarkers of epileptogenesis as a means of anticipating or preventing epileptic episodes.

Research Impact

Paz’s team showed they could stop epileptic seizures in mice in real time and with no side effects using optogenetics to control specific brain cells known as thalamocortical neurons. This work identified thalamocortical neurons as potential targets in the development of effective therapies against post-stroke seizures.

Optogenetics could also be used to identify the cells and circuits responsible for other forms of epilepsy or for neurological and cognitive disorders, leading to targeted therapeutics against these diseases as well.

Recent work by the team shows a link between chronic brain inflammation and the development of post-injury epilepsy, suggesting that certain anti-inflammatory drugs could be used in the treatment of this form of epilepsy.


Professional Titles

Associate Investigator

Associate Investigator, Gladstone Institutes

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, UC San Francisco


Jeanne Paz is an associate investigator at Gladstone Institutes. She is also an associate professor of neurology in the Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience at UC San Francisco.

Before joining Gladstone, Paz completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, where she identified seizure control points in the brain. Paz earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. As a graduate student, she studied the role of basal ganglia in regulating absence epilepsy and received an award for the best neuroscience PhD thesis in France.

How Did You Get Your Start in Science?

“I always wondered: if we knew how the brain works, would we be able to understand ourselves?”

Jeanne Paz, PhD

Honors and Awards

2022 Neuroscience Program Executive Committee, UCSF

2022 Diversity Champion Award, Gladstone Institutes

2021 Outstanding Mentor Award, Gladstone Institutes

2020 Co-Chair Neuroscience Formal Seminar Series Committee, UCSF

2019 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, Vilcek Foundation

2019 Associate Editor, Progress in Neurobiology

2017 Top reviewer 2 years in a row, Nature Publishing Group

2015 Michael Prize (Best Epilepsy Research), International League Against Epilepsy

2013 Challenge Award, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

2012 K99 Pathway to Independence Career Award, National Institutes of Health

2009 American Epilepsy Foundation Fellowship

2008 Best PhD in Neuroscience award in France (Prix de Thèse), French Society for Neuroscience

2007 Linus Pauling Graduate, University Pierre and Marie Curie

2005 Award for the best poster presentation in Neuroscience, 7ème Colloque de la Société des Neurosciences Française, French Society for Neuroscience

2003 Graduate Research Fellowship, French Ministry of Research and Technology

2002 Merit Scholarship, French Science Foundation, University Pierre and Marie Curie



Jeanne Paz

Lab Members

Moises Altamirano
Student Intern
Isaac Chang
Graduate Student
Frances Cho, PhD
Agnieszka Ciesielska, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Laura Craciun, PhD
Visiting Scientist
Cathy Dang
Student Intern
Vivianna DeNittis
Research Associate I
Naomi Donovan
Rotation Student
Jeremy Ford, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Lucille Johnston
Rotation Student
Barbara Klein, PhD
Morgane Leroux
Britta Lindquist, MD, PhD
Clinical Fellow
Audrey Magsig
Graduate Student
Deanna Necula
Graduate Student
Srujana Poluri
Student Intern
Olive Tambou Nzoutchoum
Graduate Student
Charlotte Taylor
Graduate Student
Clare Timbie, MD, PhD
Clinical Fellow
Reshmi Tognatta, PhD
Yuliya Voskobiynyk, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Drew Willoughby
Graduate Student