Many patients with epilepsy take a drug called valproic acid to control seizures. Although the drug is generally safe, it has been associated (particularly in children) with a rare but irreversible form of liver failure that can be fatal. Despite substantial research efforts in the past 25 years, it’s not clear how valproic acid causes liver failure. Dr. Xiaowei Teng is studying liver cells treated with valproic acid to identify factors that could help explain how valproic acid causes liver failure. Results from this research will help clinicians identify which patients are under high risk of valproic acid associated liver damage. The findings could also serve as a model for preventing similar side effects caused by other drugs.