Miriam Leenders

Miriam Leenders, Ph.D.

Program Director, Channels Synapses and Circuits

Areas of Interest:

Acquired epilepsies, epilepsies with immunological, infectious or unknown etiology. Lafora disease. Neuroinflammation, neurogenesis and glia mechanisms of epileptogenesis. Psychiatric and hormonal co-occurring conditions in epilepsy. Synapse development,  synapse function, tripartite synapse.


Dr. Miriam Leenders joined the NINDS in 2009 and currently serves as a program director in the Channels, Synapses and Circuits Cluster. She oversees a grants portfolio of basic and translational epilepsy research and basic synaptic function research. The portfolio covers research on mechanisms of epileptogenesis in the acquired epilepsies, epilepsies with immunological or infectious etiology and Lafora Disease. Psychiatric and hormonal co-occurring conditions in epilepsy. Synapse development, synaptic transmission, intracellular calcium signaling, ion channels, and astrocyte function in the tripartite synapse.  Dr. Leenders earned a PhD in molecular and cellular neurobiology from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. And she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Synaptic Function Section at the NINDS intramural program, where her research focused on mechanisms of calcium channel maintenance at the presynaptic membrane.