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Faculty Profile

Jokubas ZiburkusJokūbas Žiburkus

Associate Professor
Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Office: Health and Biomedical Sciences Building, 438
Contact: jziburkus@uh.edu - (713) 743-0659

Education: Ph.D., Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

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The long-term goal of Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus’ laboratory research is to understand the mechanisms of neuronal interactions in health and disease and to devise novel and alternative therapeutic treatments for untreatable neurological disorders. The lab employs a multi-disciplinary approach that synthesizes in vitro neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, imaging, molecular biology, immunohistochemistry, and computational neuroscience. Using these techniques, Žiburkus is trying to understand alterations in single neurons and neural networks that lead to epileptic seizures, abnormal excitability in Alzheimer's disease, or occur following a traumatic brain injury. His lab has filed and continue developing patents for novel and combinatorial medications to treat neurological disorders, stroke, and even cancer. Recent work has focused on Dravet syndrome – a severe form of childhood epilepsy that is very hard to treat. Žiburkus is investigating how purines affect mortality, seizures, and other behavioral comorbidities in a transgenic mouse model of Dravet syndrome. He is also investigating other alternative compounds and their combinations for treatment of brain and heart hyperexcitability, seizure activity, and even cancer.

Honors and Awards:

2001, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, Graduate School, Dean’s Award for an Outstanding Dissertation: “Developmental Remodeling of the Retinogeniculate Synapse”
2001, Johns Hopkins University, Mind/Brain Institute, Postdoctoral Fellowship
2004-05, Epilepsy Foundation and American Epilepsy Society Travel Awards
2014, Teaching Excellence Award, University of Houston
2014, Global Lithuanian Leader Award – For Intellectual Capital Accumulation and Dissemination – second highest public service science award given by the President of Lithuania once a year on a competitive, peer-reviewed basis.

Professional Memberships:

Lithuanian Neuroscience Association, Founding and Board Member, 2006 - Present
Federation of European Neurosciences, member, 2006 - Present
American Epilepsy Society, member, 2008 - Present
Research Committee for Biology of Behavior Institute at the UH, 2010 - Present
Scientific Reports at Nature, Editorial Board Member, 2014-Present
Scientific Advisory Board member, Dravet Syndrome Foundation, 2014 - Present
Life Sciences Baltics Meeting Ambassador, Presenter, Session Leader (largest life sciences meeting in the Baltic region), 2012, 2014, and 2016