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Faculty/Staff Members


Phone: 4183/2982
Office: H324/C119

Julia Chang - PhD

Professor, Biological Sciences, Physical Therapy

PhD, University of Rochester, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
MS, University of Rochester, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
BS, University of California, Irvine, Department of Biology with Political Science, minor


Research objectives:

Infantile epilepsy is a known neurological disorder affecting infants and children.  In cases where anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs) cannot control seizures, children with therapeutic-resistant infantile epilepsy (such as cortical dysplasia, tuberous sclerosis complex, Rasmussens encephalitis (RE), Hemimegalencephaly, strokes and other rare brain diseases of children linked with epilepsy) require neurosurgical resections of brain tissue to manage the frequent seizures. As a researcher at the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery, Pediatric Epilepsy Research Laboratory, our goal is to use surgical resected tissue to determine molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis.  The overall goal in our lab is to understand and develop translational therapies to manage childhood epilepsy.  We have also successfully established the UCLA Rare Epilepsies and Brain Disease Tissue Bank (REBDTB).  In collaboration with the RE Children’s Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new treatments for RE, our pediatric epilepsy team coordinates the transfer of surgical brain specimen, cerebral spinal fluid, and blood form epilepsy surgery centers around the world.  It is our hope that by understanding the mechanisms of infantile epilepsy, new therapeutic approaches to treating infantile epilepsy will be developed.




            Owens, GC, Chang JW, Huynh MN, Chirwa T, Vinters HV, Mathern GW. Evidence for Resident Memory T Cells in Rasmussen Encephalitis Frontiers in Immunology. 23 Feb.2016. PMID: 26941743 PMCID: PMC4763066

             Owens, GC, Erickson KL, Malone CC, Pan C, Huynh, MN, Chang JW, Chirwa T, Vinters HV, Mathern GW, Kruse CA. Evidence for the involvement of gamma delta T cells in the immune response in Rasmussen encephalitis. J. Neuroinflammation.2015. Jul 19; 12:135 PMID: 26186920 PMCID: PMC4506578

             Owens G.C., Huynh MN, Chang JW, McArthur DL, Hickey MJ, Vinters, HV, Mathern GW, Kruse CA. Differential expression of interferon-gamma and chemokine genes distinguishes Rasmussen encephalitis form cortical dysplasia and provides evidence for an early Th1 immune response. J Neuroinflammation. 10(1):56. (Epub). May 2013. PMID: 23639073, PMCID: PMC3657540

            Cepeda C, Chang JW, Owens GC, Huynh MN, Chen JY, Tran C, Vinters HV, Levine MS, Mathern GW. In Rasmussen encephalitis, Hemichannels associated with microglial activation are linked to cortical pyramidal neuron coupling: A possible mechanism for cellular hyperexcitability.2014. CNS Neurosci Ther. Dec 1, [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25438677, PMCID: PMC4303544

            Chang, JW, Arnold, MM, Rozenbaum, A, Caputo, A, Schweizer, FE, Huynh, M, Mathern, GW, Sarafian, TA, and Watson, JB. Synaptoneurosome Micromethod for Fractionation of Mouse Brain, Human Brain, and Primary Neuronal Cultures. 2012. J. Neuroscience Methods Nov 15 211(2):289-95 PMID: 23017979

            Gabard, DL, Lowe, DL, and Chang, JW. Current and Future Instructional Methods and Influencing Factors in Anatomy Instruction in Physical Therapy and Medical Schools in the U.S. J. Allied Health 41(2)53-62. 2012 PMID: 22735817

              Cepeda C, Andre VM, Hauptman JS, Yamazaki I, Huynh MN, Chang JW, Chen JY, Fisher RS, Vinters HV, Levine MS, and Mathern GW.  Enhanced GABAergic network and receptor function in pediatric cortical dysplasia Type IIB compared with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.  Neurobiology of Disease Epub: 23 August 2011.  Jan 45(1):310-21, 2012. PMID: 21889982  PMCID: 3225687

             Chandra PS, Salamon N, Nguyen ST, Chang JW, Huynh MN, Cepeda C, Leite JP, Neder L, Koh S, Vinters HV, and Mathern GW.  Infantile spasms-associated microencephaly in tuberous sclerosis complex and cortical dysplasia.  Neurology, 2007, 68:438-445. 

             Salamon N, Andres M, Chute DJ, Nguyen ST, Chang JW, Huynh MN, Chandra PS, Andre VM, Cepeda C, Levine MS, Leite JP, Neder L, Vinters HV, and Mathern GW.  Contralateral hemimicrocephaly and clinical-pathologic correlations in children with hemimegalencephaly.  Brain, 2006, 129(Pt 2):352-365.  Epub November 15, 2005.

Complete list of Published Work in MyBibliography:


R01 NS 083823                      Gleeson, Joseph/ Mathern, Gary W. (Co-PI)


Molecular Characterization of Hemimegalencephaly.

The major goals of this project are to examine de novo somatic mutations associated with Hemimegalencephaly (HME), correlate genetic disease burden with clinical, imaging, and histophatholgical findings, and test how de novo mutations alter progenitor cell functions in the developing cerebral cortex

 U01 MH108898-01     Gleeson, Joseph (PI)                                                             


“Mosaicism in focal cortical dysplasia spectrum seen in neuropsychiatric disease”

The major goal of this grant is to find mutations that exist in autism and epilepsy within patches of focal cortical disorganization (FCD).  We will expand our mutation analysis and study the genetic basis of disease with the goal of improved therapy. 

Role:  Subcontract with UCSD and Rockefeller University