Annapurna (Ann) Poduri MD, MPH, is the director of the Epilepsy Genetics Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. A leader in the field of neurogenetics, Ann brings together cutting-edge science with novel approaches to medicine. Through her innovative multi-disciplinary program that spans from the clinic to the laboratory, she has launched concept-changing studies that continue to reveal many genetic causes for epilepsy, a condition that affects 1 in 26 people.
Ann’s career as a physician-scientist was kindled at Harvard (Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude 1994), where she studied neuroscience in the classroom and in the lab. She combined her love of pediatrics and neuroscience through training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Medical Doctorate 1998), Boston Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Harvard School of Public Health (Master of Public Health 2007).
Ann has taken on a fundamental and largely unasked, and until recently unanswerable, question—what causes each person’s epilepsy? Driven by a mission to understand this condition to transform how people are diagnosed and treated, Ann has brought together physicians, genetic counselors, researchers, and students in her clinic and laboratory. Together, they bring modern genomics and increasingly precise genetic diagnoses to patients, they bring human disease insight into zebrafish and other models, and they pursue basic neurodevelopmental studies that are relevant to human brain development and disease.
Ann’s research has garnered support from the National Institutes of Health, private foundations, and philanthropic contributions. Her contributions have been recognized through numerous honors, including the American Neurological Association’s Derek Denny-Brown Young Neurological Scholar Award and the American Academy of Neurology’s Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award. Her novel translational and collaborative approach has been held up as a model nationally and her perspective sought widely, with recent citations in Science, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe. She is proud to represent her group internationally, as an invited member of the Genomics Commission of the International League Against Epilepsy and as chair of the American Epilepsy Society/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Benchmarks Stewards Committee. Ann recognizes the key roles that her mentors have played in her career development, and she aspires to provide as many opportunities for her colleagues and trainees as have been bestowed upon her.
Ann enjoys travel, photography, and reading with her husband Christopher Hug, their twin daughters Asha and Sita, and their family and friends near and far.
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