NIH Center Without Walls to Focus on SUDEP Research

The NIH hopes the collaborative, multi-specialty effort will help advance research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched its second Centers Without Walls program to focus on understanding sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), a leading cause of death in patients with epilepsy.

Nine groups of researchers will receive $5.9 million, part of which is being funded by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), to collaborate and share data and resources in order to get SUDEP lab results into the clinic faster.

Together, the research groups will form the Center for SUDEP Research. SUDEP occurs in 1 out of 1,000 people with epilepsy, and there is no known cause and no known preventive strategy.

“These projects represent a wide range of strategies for figuring out what causes SUDEP and identifying risk factors that may help prevent it. The design of the program, which combines fundamental laboratory research with translational and clinical findings, will provide us with answers to many of the questions we have about SUDEP,” said Vicky Whittemore, PhD, NINDS program director, in a NIH press release.

The nine research projects are:

  • Center for SUDEP Research: Autonomic and Imaging Biomarkers of SUDEP
  • Center for SUDEP Research: The Neuropathology of SUDEP
  • Center for SUDEP Research: Morphometric Core
  • Center for SUDEP Research: Molecular Diagnostics Core
  • Center for SUDEP Research: Respiratory and Arousal Mechanisms
  • Center for SUDEP Research: Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Mouse Neurocardiac Models
  • Center for SUDEP Research: Cardiac Gene and Circuit Mechanisms
  • Center for SUDEP Research: Informatics & Data Analysis Core 
  • Center for SUDEP Research: Administrative Core


  1. National Institutes of Health press release: