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Supporting epilepsy care and research at
RUSH University Medical Center


January 13, 1992 - April 5, 2011

Mary Caitlin D. Keane is one of  the estimated 125,000 people who die each year from seizures and related causes. 


She is a daughter, sister, cousin, friend and promising young woman taken far too early from this world.


Dear Mary,


From the very day that you were born, right from the very start, you had my heart. You've blessed my life with so much joy; that lovely smile would light up any room! Your little laugh would lift me up whenever I was sad or things were going wrong. You were strong, kind, and compassionate to everyone and now it is my turn to try to live up to your example. You continue to be such a special blessing, and I love you so much. Even though you're in heaven, and all grown up, you still fill my days with joy. I cannot wait to see your great smile again someday. In the meantime, I'm doing my best to make you proud. I think about you every hour of every day and I hope you can feel my love up in heaven.


Love you always and forever,

Dad !!



Worldwide, an estimated 125,000 people die each year due to epilepsy and related causes
Help raise money to reduce
some, and one day all, of those 125,000 deaths per year
Over 70K donated,
100% of which directly supports
innovative and 
forward-thinking leaders
Rush University


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Travis Stoub, PhD


At Rush University Medical Center Mary received outstanding care for many years of her short life. She was lucky to have Travis Stoub, Ph.D. and Antoaneta Balabanov, MD, as two of the numerous skilled workers who cared for her in her time at Rush.

Travis Stoub, PhD, and Antoaneta J. Balabanov, MD, are both associate professors in the Department of Neurological Sciences. Dr. Stoub helps lead the epilepsy center's innovative radiomics research efforts. Dr. Balabanov is the medical director of the RUSH Epilepsy Center as well as directs the RUSH University Epilepsy Fellowship. 


RUSH's epilepsy physicians and scientists are using advancements made possible by donor support in the clinic each day to improve care - and life for people with epilepsy.


In the words of Dr. Stoub:


"Philanthropy opens the door of discovery

and directly changes the lives of our patients forever." 


In honor of Mary Keane, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support epilepsy care and research at RUSH.

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Antoaneta J. Balabanov, MD

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Two Goals for Dr. Stoub and the Eplilepsy Care Team Include:

1. Purchase a new digitizer & motion tracker to improve the electrode registration process. 2. With future philanthropic funds, we are planning to retain our computer engineer, data scientist and laboratory assistant to expand the development of radiomic markers for patients with epilepsy.

Improving Patients' Lives Through Epilepsy Care & Research

Accurate diagnoses are vital for patients to receive the best possible care. At the RUSH Epilepsy Center, donor support has empowered our specialists to get diagnosis and care down to a science to help patients experience their best quality of life. RUSH's epilepsy specialists compassionately diagnose and treat all cases - from the most routine to the most complex. With help from our robust community of supporters, our team leads the field in applying leading-edge research to patient care - a process known as bench-to-bedside or translational research. Imaging capabilities at the RUSH Multimodal Neuroimaging Laboratory are essential to helping our experts make exact diagnoses and pinpoint, precisely, where seizures originate in the brain. Philanthropy has dramatically advanced RUSH's neuroimaging and research capabilities by helping physicians and scientists collect, analyze and accurately assess more images to advance care and generate new knowledge of epilepsy for the entire field. With donor support, RUSH leads the way in advancing neuroimaging for epilepsy through radiomics research, providing services that are unavailable elsewhere and making treatment-advancing discoveries that improve people's lives. Radiomics is a rapidly growing area of medical science that uses mathematical algorithms to analyze data available from high-powered patient images and enhance clinical decision-making. In 2023, RUSH acquired a 3T MRI scanner - the health system's most advanced - which has the strongest magnet field strength for greater accuracy in imaging. The RUSH Epilepsy Center uses this scanner for all outpatient clinical screening. Donor support helps RUSH epilepsy experts collect neuroimaging data for promising research that advances efforts to identify biomarkers for specific types of epilepsy and specific demographics. With patient consent, the lab uses a robust repository of patient imaging, specimens and data to assist with research and advance patient care. The RUSH Epilepsy Center's dedicated team, directed by Michael C. Smith, MD, professor and division chief of the Section of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology, is devoted to helping each patient receive the care that works best for them and their individual circumstances. With your help, the team investigates promising hypotheses that translate into new and better care approaches. On the following pages, we are proud to highlight the exciting progress made by our talented team of epilepsy physicians and researchers whose efforts are propelled by donor support. In the words of Dr. Smith, "Donors fuel progress in academic medicine." Thank you for making these advancements possible. You are making a difference in the lives of our patients and people with epilepsy far beyond RUSH."

Getting a Clearer Picture With Radiomics

Epilepsy care is grounded in neuroscience, and studies in RUSH's labs are having direct results on patient care. With donor support, RUSH is leading some of the field's most innovative research to advance diagnostic capabilities and treatments. Advancements in research directly translate into improved care possibilities for patients with epilepsy. Earlier this year, a man in his 40s sought care from the RUSH Epilepsy Center for medically refractory epilepsy that began when he was a baby. This condition occurs when medications do not control seizures well or at all. RUSH specialists analyzed an electroencephalogram, or EEG, scan of the man's brain, which revealed an active area on the left side, but the exact location was unclear. To specify the location, the team performed what is called a subtracted ictal single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) coregistered to MRI, or SISCOM. For this procedure, a nuclear medicine technologist injected the patient with a radioactive SPECT tracer during a seizure and again while the patient was not having a seizure. The images were then compared to each other to reveal the area of increased activity during a seizure. The image was overlayed on an MRI scan for even better spatial resolution. The SISCOM image revealed an area of hyperperfusion, or increased blood flow, in the mesial portion of the superior temporal gyms/insular cortex. This is shown in red in the adjacent image. Next, the team needed to pinpoint the cause. Building on a strong base of machine learning research, the RUSH Epilepsy Center recently introduced a new software program to its lab called CAT12, which runs on the programming platform MATLAB. The program assesses structural differences in one patient's brain activity compared to a large control group. MATLAB was purchased with donor support. Using this software, the team identified a significant structural difference in the patient's brain in an area just adjacent to the SISCOM hyperperfusion pictured to the right. (Please note the images are flipped in this software compared to the SISCOM image above.) Due to the location of the lesion, the patient was not a candidate for surgical resection. As an alternative, the team successfully implanted a responsive neurostimulation device in the abnormal area. This device detects oncoming seizures and delivers electrical current to prevent, stop or shorten the seizures. Since this procedure, the patient's seizures have dramatically improved. The RUSH Epilepsy Center helped another patient achieve seizure-free outcomes using a different type of modeling. The center employs a specialized piece of high-density EEG equipment and software that uses additional scalp sensors in a head cap to deliver better EEG coverage. The software then uses mathematical modeling to localize the patient's EEG abnormalities onto an MRI scan in 3D, shown to the right. The green areas indicate EEG abnormalities in relation to a lesion identified by an MRI scan in red. With this tool, physicians localized and removed the entire extent of the abnormality for a patient in their 30s who had medically intractable epilepsy. The patient has now been seizure-free for four years. This equipment and software is no longer supported by its original warranty, so the center plans to renew its license and technical support using philanthropic funds. Donor support will ensure this tool can help more patients live better lives. These success stories are just two examples of the phenomenal outcomes made possible by donor support of epilepsy research and care at RUSH. Our standard and specialized imaging capabilities in our clinic and lab, which combine advanced imaging techniques with precise analyses driven by high-powered computer algorithms, draw more patients than any other imaging lab in the Chicago area. With the right tools and information, our experts can achieve life-changing breakthroughs in care.

Discovering New Radiomics Markers for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Together, Travis Stoub, PhD, associate professor, and Rebecca O'Dwyer, MD, assistant professor, both in the Department of Neurological Sciences, lead the epilepsy center's innovative radiomics research efforts. Over the last year, the lab uncovered new radiomics markers for temporal lobe epilepsy and featured this work during a poster presentation at the American Epilepsy Society's December 2022 meeting. Researchers, with help from fellows and undergraduate trainees, found that radiomics can identify subtle MRI abnormalities in patients with medically intractable, non-lesional temporal lobe epilepsy. This discovery is likely to improve future diagnostic capabilities, enabling physicians to identify candidates who would benefit from curative resection surgery. The discovery builds upon the lab's strong foundational work that has proven radiomics' ability to differentiate patients with epilepsy from neurotypical controls with high sensitivity and specificity.

Advancing Research & Sharing Results With the Scientific Community

In the past year, the RUSH Epilepsy Center has continued to advance epilepsy research that is benefiting the field locally and internationally. The following recent progress has been made possible with donor support: --- Researching epilepsy in older adults: Dr. O'Dwyer and her team continued to enroll patients and analyze data in their study examining seizures in older adults - the fastest-growing demographic of people with epilepsy. Researchers submitted two abstracts related to this work: The first involves errors in a cognitive dysfunction test that asks older adults to draw a clock, and the second is an analysis of discrepancies in quality oflife between older and younger people with epilepsy. --- Seeking a biomarker of SUDEP: Under the direction of Adrianna Bermeo-Ovalle, MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences, researchers are seeking a biomarker of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or SUDEP, in hopes of one day finding a preventative measure or therapeutic for this tragic complication. Donor support enables Dr. Bermeo-Ovalle and her team to collaborate with other epilepsy experts locally and globally, while also recruiting and training future specialists. With patient consent, data from the RUSH Epilepsy Center is sent to a shared repository that is part of an international collaborative study to identify potential SUDEP biomarkers. Additionally, Dr. Bermeo-Ovalle recently began hosting a podcast called "Epilepsy Currents" with the American Epilepsy Society and published EEG guidelines in Spanish as part of a collaboration with the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society. --- Sharing findings with the scientific community: RUSH researchers submitted an article regarding the use of a convolutional neural network (a machine-assisted support tool) to pinpoint the area of seizure onset in patients with epilepsy to the journal Neurology; an article about setting up EEG source imaging to the journal Clinical Neurophysiology; and an article about the structural connectivity of the piriform cortex (an area of the brain involved in processing smells) to the journal Neurosurgery. --- Bolstering our expert team: Philanthropic funding recently enabled the lab to hire, part-time, an engineer and a machine learning statistician to help with complex analyses of the immense data that radiomics generates. "We are now more efficient in our processes, and we are able to build complex models to analyze our radiomics data," Dr. Staub said. "None of this is possible without philanthropic support." --- Progressing clinical trials: RUSH continues to enroll eligible participants in the STATUS Trial, a multicenter clinical trial examining a promising investigational therapy for super-refractory status epilepticus. We are also enrolling participants in the Epilepsy Neuronal Changes Study, examining brain tissue removed during surgeries to better understand epilepsy's effects.

Recent Updates

"When Mary passed away at age 19 in spring of 2011, I lost my friend and cousin, and the world lost a special person.  My Uncle Stephen began this fund for epilepsy research in her name shortly after she passed away. He asked me if I would gather other young people to help the cause and without hesitating I said 'yes' . . . I am proud that our family, friends, local community and people all across the United States and the world, have come together to build the fund to over $70,000 in the past decade with 100% going to Epilepsy Research.  


As the Junior Ambassador for the fund, social media, and this website are two ways we help keep Mary’s memory alive while sharing some of the important research currently being conducted at Rush University Medical Center.


Mary's premature passing taught me the only way to make sense out of a tragedy is to turn the tragedy into something positive. 


I hope, pray and work toward finding a treatment for epilepsy . . . no other mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, or friend should have to experience the tragic loss of one they love due to seizures or related causes."


- Maeve Gillette (one of Mary's first cousins)

   Chicago, IL


"All of the physicians and nurses of the Rush Epilespy Center got to know Mary during the years she was treated at Rush. We have fond memories of her sweet smile and positive attitude despite adverse situations. She is one of the patients we will never forget."





Dr. Andres M. Kanner, 

Attending Physician, Rush Epilespy Center




For questions, more information about the fund, media inquires, sponsorship opportunities, as well as to talk to someone who understands the effects of seizures both on the person having them as well as the family . . . please feel free to reach out via the form below. We appreciate your time on this site and your support toward finding a treament for medication-resistant epilepsy. 

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Stephen M. Keane


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