Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Neurological Sciences

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

James Stafford

Second Advisor

Bryan Ballif


Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor, Epilepsy, Focal Cortical Dysplasia, mTOR, Neural Phenotype


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is essential for normal brain development, and genetic mutations that affect it have dire effects on normal brain functions. Specific subpopulations of drug-resistant epilepsy were recently associated with upregulation of EGFR. Upregulation of EGFR has been shown to have effects on neural differentiation and migration phenotypes, but the degree to which EGFR causes these changes is not well understood. EGFR has been linked with both the mTOR signaling pathway as well as Focal Cortical Dysplasia (FCD).

In this study, we sought to quantify the effects that EGFR has on cortical neuron phenotypes in an in vivo model, when injected into maturing neurons rather than neural stem cells. We injected P0 mouse pup cortices with GFP-tagged vectors that express EGFR, the constitutively active EGFR VIII, and controls. Using immunofluorescence, we stained for EGFR to identify EGFR positivity in non-GFP-tagged cells. Finally, we imaged the slides using Neurolucida and traced GFP-tagged cell bodies and dendrites to measure phenotypic differences. We found a significant difference in cell body size between neurons injected with EGFRvIII and control neurons. These preliminary results set the framework for further research identifying the role EGFR plays in neural development, and its relationship to FCD and mTOR.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Sunday, May 11, 2025