Murat Gunel was born on November 17, 1967 in Ankara, Turkey and earned his M.D. from the Istanbul School of Medicine. He then came to Yale as an intern in 1991, trained in neurosurgery, and joined faculty in 1998. He was named the Nixdorff-German Professor of Neurological Surgery in 2009 and currently serves as Professor of Neurosurgery and Professor of Genetics and of Neurobiology, Director of the Yale Program in Brain Tumor Research, and Co-Director of the Yale Program on Neurogenetics.
Dr. Gunel specializes in the microsurgery of complex intracranial pathologies, including cerebral aneurysms, vascular malformations and tumors. His research parallels his clinical interest and focuses on gene discovery in disorders of the development and pathology of the brain and its vasculature. He is leading a large scale effort aimed at identifying the genomic architecture of brain tumors, focusing on glioblastoma multiforme. In addition, he is interested in the molecular genetics of intracranial aneurysms and cavernous malformations and leads an international team spanning across 10 countries and 32 institutions. Their collaborative effort has lead to the identification of six chromosomal segments where common genetic variations can create risk for cerebral aneurysms. Finally, through the study of nearly 2,000 index cases suffering from recessive forms of brain malformations or neurodegenerative disorders (mainly recruited from Turkey), he is looking for novel genes fundamental to brain development. Dr. Gunel’s work has continuously been funded by the NIH since 2004. He currently is the recipient of a RC2 and three RO1 grants.
Dr. Gunel has received numerous honors for his work, including Yale's Ohse Research Award, a National Pfizer Scholar Award for New Faculty, a Young Investigator Award from the American Epilepsy Society, as well as honorary master and doctoral degrees from Yale and Bahcesehir Universities, respectively. He was honored by Science magazine as a runner-up for the “10 biggest scientific breakthroughs of 2010” for the discovery of mutations in a novel gene, WDR62, that cause severe developmental brain malformations.
Dr. Gunel is the past Chair of the American Association & Congress of Neurological Surgeons Cerebrovascular Section and also serves as a member of the Board of the Foundation of International Education in Neurological Surgery. Dr. Gunel has also participated as a member of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association and as president of the Turkish American Medical Association. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association and American College of Surgeons.
He and his wife Jennifer live in Branford, CT.