Our Research

Our lab focuses on defining disease mechanisms in cortical malformations and epilepsy. Of particular interest to us are cortical malformations caused by genetic variants within the mTOR pathway including DEPDC5, NPRL3, NPRL2, TSC1/2, AKT, among others. As a question driven lab, we use a wide range of in vivo and in vitro systems to model various aspects of cortical malformations and epilepsy (a list of frequently used techniques can be found below). Using this approach, we aim to identify novel therapeutic targets, uncover more effective treatment paradigms, and develop tools that clinicians can use to provide better care for their patients.

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Techniques Used

  • Proteomics and Transcriptomics
  • Immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry
  • PCR and qPCR
  • CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing
  • Co-immunoprecipitation
  • Cell lines, primary cultures, iPSCs
  • Live cell imaging including FRET assays, calcium imaging, and time-lapse imaging
  • Multiwell multielectrode arrays
  • Confocal microscopy
  • In utero electroporation
  • In vivo EEG recording, monitoring, and analysis

Our Team

Sophie R. Bruckmeier, BS

Sophie R. Bruckmeier, BS

Ms. Bruckmeier is a Ph.D candidate in the Program in Neuroscience at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Mississippi State University with a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She was recently awarded a teaching fellowship at Notre Dame University of Maryland's School of Pharmacy.

Philip H. Iffland II, Ph.D

Philip H. Iffland II, Ph.D

Dr. Iffland is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He received his BA in Zoology from Miami University and a MA in Biology from Kent State University. He completed his Ph.D in Molecular Biology in the Cleveland Clinic/Kent State Collaborative Doctoral Program with Damir Janigro, Ph.D. In 2015, he joined the lab of Peter B. Crino, MD, Ph.D for a postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular Neuroscience at the Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center at Temple University School of Medicine. Dr. Iffland is an alumnus of the San Servolo Advanced Epilepsy Summer School and has been selected for both the Young Investigator and Junior Investigator Awards from the American Epilepsy Society.

Relevant Publications

Iffland PH 2nd, Carson V, Bordey A, Crino PB. GATORopathies: The role of amino acid regulatory gene mutations in epilepsy and cortical malformations. Epilepsia. 2019; 2163-2173. Cover Article.

Iffland PH 2nd, Barnes, AE, Baybis M, Leventer R, Lockhart PJ, Crino PB. DEPDC5 and NPRL3 knockdown produces mTOR-dependent changes in cellular morphology and function. Neurol Biol of Dis. 2018; 114: 184-193

Iffland, PH 2nd, Barnes AE, Baybis M, Crino PB. Phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 is modulated by amino acids in neurons lacking Tsc2 but not Depdc5. Exp Neurol. 2020; 334:113432.

Iffland, PH 2nd, Barnes AE, Babus JK, Baybis M, Romanowski A, Poulopoulos A, Carson V, Crino PB. Nprl3: Direct Effects on Human Phenotypic Variability, mTOR signaling, subcellular mTOR localization, cortical lamination and seizure susceptibility. Brain. 2022.

In this lab we believe everyone is equal graphic

Diversity Statement

The Iffland Lab stands against all forms of racism, inequality, prejudice and bias. Diversity within the academy enhances scientific discovery, creates well-rounded and experienced scientists, and inspires future generations to enter STEM fields. Lab members are active participants in initiatives on the UMB campus to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. We believe that the pursuit of knowledge and the thrill of scientific discovery should be open to everyone. Further, at the core of our scientific endeavors are the individuals living with autism, intellectual disability, mental health conditions, and epilepsy that we are privileged to serve. Through our work we aim to end the stigma and stereotypes associated with neurodivergent individuals and foster a community that celebrates our shared humanity.

Positions Available

Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellow, or anyone else interested in joining our team should contact Dr. Iffland directly at piffland@som.umaryland.edu.