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Epilepsy Center Team

Rush Epilepsy Center Team

Antoaneta J. Balabanov, MD

Antoaneta J. Balabanov, MDAntoaneta J. Balabanov, MD, is board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology. She obtained her medical degree from the Medical Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. She completed her neurology residency training at the Henry Ford Hospital and went on to complete a fellowship in neurophysiology at Rush University Medical Center.

Her areas of clinical expertise include epilepsy, developmental delay, electrocorticography, electroencephalography, evoked potential testing, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, language delay, pseudoseizures and Wada test. Her primary area of interest in research is antiepileptic drugs.

Adriana C. Bermeo-Ovalle, MD

Adriana C. Bermeo-Ovalle, MDAdriana C. Bermeo-Ovalle, MD, is a board-certified neurologist. She obtained her medical degree from the National University of Colombia College of Medicine. She completed her neurology residency at Rush University Medical Center and also completed an epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic.

Her areas of clinical expertise include electroencephalography (EEG), continuous EEG monitoring, epilepsy, epilepsy in women and treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Lawrence P. Bernstein, MD

Lawrence P. Bernstein, MDLawrence P. Bernstein, MD, is board certified in both neurology and sleep medicine. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Chicago and completed both his neurology residency training and physiology fellowship training there as well.

His areas of clinical expertise include epilepsy, sleep disorders and vagus nerve stimulation.

His primary interest in research is neuromodulation for the control of epilepsy and depression.

Thomas P. Bleck, MD, FCCM

Thomas P. Bleck, MDThomas P. Bleck, MD, FCCM, is professor of neurology, neurosurgery, internal medicine and anesthesiology at Rush Medical College and associate chief medical officer for critical care at Rush University Medical Center.

He is board certified in internal medicine, with subspecialty certification in critical care medicine; neurology, with subspecialty certification in neurocritical care and vascular neurology; and clinical neurophysiology.

He serves on the board of the Neurocritical Care Society, of which he was the founding president. For 12 years, he served on the governing council of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

His research interests include head injury, status epilepticus, infections, stroke and neuromuscular respiratory failure.

Richard W. Byrne, MD

Richard W. Byrne, MDRichard W. Byrne, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in surgical treatment for epilepsy, skull base and brain tumor surgery, pituitary surgery, trigeminal neuralgia and radiosurgery.

He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois in 1987 and his medical degree at Northwestern University Medical School in 1991. Byrne graduated from the neurosurgical residency training program at Rush University Medical Center in 1997 and joined the faculty after additional training in epilepsy and brain tumor surgery.

He has been involved in a number of epilepsy and brain tumor surgery trials and has conducted basic science research in epileptogenesis and brain tumor genetics.

Byrne is an active member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Neurosurgical Society of America. He is past president of the Rush Surgical Society, treasurer of the Chicago Neurological Society and treasurer of the Illinois State Neurosurgical Society.

Mary Denny, MS, RN

Mary Denny, MS, RN, is a nurse clinician who has been with the Rush Epilepsy Center since 2009. She received her bachelor’s degree from Rush University as well as a master’s degree with a specialization in gerontological nursing. She has extensive nursing experience and has published articles about health promotion and patient education. 

Before joining the Rush Epilepsy Center, she developed and managed a community-based, wellness program for Fourth Presbyterian Church for more than a decade. Her interests include health promotion and the connection between spirituality and health. She co-leads the Wellness Support Group at the Rush Epilepsy Center.

Eve Escalante, MSW, LCSW

Eve Escalante, MSW, LCSW, is a clinical social worker. She obtained both her bachelor’s degree and Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University Chicago, where the focus of her training was on social work in health care. She has experience in case management, psychotherapy and group facilitation. She is bi-lingual in English and Spanish to better serve our patients. 

She works alongside the medical team in epilepsy to provide a psychosocial perspective to the patient’s care. Her focus is on the emotional, spiritual and mental well-being of patients and their support systems. She provides assessment of psychosocial needs, planning, and referrals and resources in the community. She facilitates two support groups at the Epilepsy Center and also provides psychotherapy.

Marlis Frey, MSN, CNP, RN

Marlis Frey, MSN, CNP, RN, received her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from Rush University.  She has been working as a certified nurse practitioner for the Rush Epilepsy Center for many years.

She has collaborated on research projects involving psychosocial and clinical aspects of patient care.  She is the author of several book chapters and numerous research articles. She has lectured extensively on epilepsy to both scientific and lay audiences and teaches graduate level nursing students. 

Her primary interests include pre-surgical evaluations, pharmacotherapy, women with epilepsy, intellectual and developmental co-morbidities, and post-surgical psychosocial issues in patients with epilepsy. 

She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Epilepsy Society and serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Foundation of greater Chicago.  She has received numerous academic and clinical awards.

Thomas Hoeppner, PhD

Thomas Hoeppner, PhD, is an associate professor of neurological sciences. He obtained his doctor of philosophy degree from McMaster University (Canada) and completed a postdoctoral neurophysiology fellowship at the Brain Research Institute, New York Medical College.

His areas of clinical expertise include electroencephalography, evoked potential testing, brain mapping, electrocorticography and electrical stimulation to control seizures.

His areas of interest in research include epilepsy and emotion, automatic seizure detection and evoked potential assessment of nervous system function.

Fiona Lynn, MSN, APN-BC, RN

Fiona Lynn, MSN, APN-BC, RN, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and completed her Master of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has been with the Rush Epilepsy Center since September 2013. 

Her interests include working with patients with epilepsy, brain tumors and neurostimulators, including patients with vagal nerve stimulators as well as the RNS system (NeuroPace).

In addition, she counsels patients on ongoing treatment for epilepsy and works with pregnant women with epilepsy throughout their pregnancies.

Amy McHenry BSN, RN

Amy McHenry BSN, RN, has been with the Rush Epilepsy Center since July 2012 as a nurse clinician. She received her registered nurse degree from Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Chamberlain College of Nursing. 

She has a wide range of inpatient experience with both neurology and cardiology management.  She works alongside other epilepsy practitioners to provide excellent coordination of patient care and patient education in the outpatient setting. 

Maggie L. McNulty, MD

Maggie L. McNulty, MDMaggie L. McNulty, MD, is board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology.

She received her medical degree from Rush Medical College and completed her neurology residency training as well as her clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

Her areas of clinical interests are continuous EEG monitoring, epilepsy, epilepsy in women and treatment resistant epilepsy.

Sarah Mickie, BSN, RN

Sarah Mickie, BSN, RN, has been a part of the team at the Rush Epilepsy Center since June 2012. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the Rush University College of Nursing. She has experience with epilepsy and neurological and orthopedic rehabilitation.

Her responsibilities include patient education and counseling, coordination of patient care, and insurance/medication management in the outpatient setting.

Kelly Roehl, MS, RD/RDN, LDN, CNSC

Kelly Roehl, MS, RD/RDNKelly Roehl, MS, RD/RDN, LDN, CNSC, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who specializes in neurology, ketogenic diet therapy and nutrition support. She is also an instructor for the Rush University College of Health Sciences.

She received her undergraduate degree in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin–Stout and completed her master’s degree in clinical nutrition at Rush University.

Her primary research interests include ketogenic diet therapy, metabolism, enteral and parenteral nutrition support, and critical care nutrition. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Marvin A. Rossi, MD, PhD

Marvin A. Rossi, MD, PhDMarvin A. Rossi, MD, PhD, is a board-certified neurologist. He obtained his medical degree from Rush Medical College. He completed his neurology residency training as well as his clinical neurophysiology fellowship training at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

His areas of clinical expertise are cortical mapping, developmental delay, electroencephalography, epilepsy, treatment-resistant epilepsy, evoked potential testing, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, language delay, methohexital suppression testing, pseudoseizures and Wada test.

His areas of interest in research include localization of the ictal onset zone for epilepsy surgery and neurochemical markers of synaptic plasticity.

Michael C. Smith, MD

Michael C. Smith, MDMichael C. Smith, MD, is the director of the Rush Epilepsy Center. He is board certified in both neurology and clinical neurophysiology. He obtained his medical degree from Rush Medical College. He completed his neurology residency training at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and also completed a clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

His areas of clinical expertise include developmental delay, electroencephalography, epilepsy, epilepsy and cognition, epilepsy in children, treatment-resistant epilepsy, evoked potential testing, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, language delay, multiple subpial transection and pseudoseizures.

His areas of interest in research are epileptogenesis, epilepsy prevention, and electrical stimulation for the treatment of epilepsy.

Michael Stein, MD

Michael Stein, MD, is a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of epilepsy. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. He completed his neurology residency and his clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

His areas of clinical expertise include electrocorticography, electroencephalography, epilepsy, magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Wada test. His areas of interest in research include spectral analysis of EEG and MEG.

Travis R. Stoub, PhD

Travis R. Stoub, PhD, is an assistant professor of neurological sciences. He obtained his doctor of philosophy degree from the Graduate College of Rush University and completed a postdoctoral clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

His areas of clinical expertise include electroencephalography, evoked potential testing, magnetoencephalography, dipole source modeling, brain mapping, electrocorticography and brain volume measurements.

His areas of interest in research include epilepsy and cognition, synaptic changes in epilepsy and neuroimaging biomarkers of epilepsy.

Debbie Zielinski, ANP, RN

Debbie Zielinski, ANP, RN, has been with the Rush Epilepsy Center since June 2000. She received her master's degree as a clinical specialist in neurology and neurosurgery from DePaul University and her certification as a nurse practitioner from North Park University. She also has experience in pediatric neurology and neurosurgery.

Her interests include working with patients with epilepsy and brain tumors. Her responsibilities include working with and counseling patients (inpatients, outpatients and surgical patients), teaching neurophysical assessment and day-to-day management of the epilepsy patients and research coordinator for the NeuroPace study.