Murat Günel, M.D., the Nixdorff-German Professor of Neurosurgery and professor of genetics and neurobiology, has been appointed chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine and chief of the Department of Neurosurgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital, effective October 1, 2014.

Günel is the director of the Yale Program in Brain Tumor Research, co-director of the Yale Program on Neurogenetics, and chief of the Section of Neurovascular Surgery. He obtained his medical degree at Istanbul University and completed his internship and residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital. His clinical expertise is in treating complex brain aneurysms and vascular malformations, as well as brain tumors.

His landmark genomic research has revealed the genetic risks for brain aneurysms, mutational landscape of brain tumors, and a multitude of genes fundamental in cortical development. Günel led the largest international genome wide association studies of intracranial aneurysms, identifying several susceptibility loci, as published in two Nature Genetics papers. His lab, through multiple international collaborations, identified several genes mutated in malformations of cerebral cortical development. This work resulted in publications in Nature and more recently in Cell this last April, in which Günel was a member of the international team that identified a previously unknown neurodegenerative disorder caused by a mutation in the CLP1 gene. In 2013, Günel was the senior author of a pivotal manuscript published in Science, which unveiled that somatic mutations in just five genes, including two that have never been implicated in neoplasia, can explain the mutational landscape of majority of meningiomas, the most common type of brain tumor.

Günel is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS). He previously served as chair of the AANS/CNS Cerebrovascular Section in 2011, and has been elected to the Society of Neurological Surgeons and Academy of Neurological Surgeons.

Under Günel’s leadership, we will expand the scope of the multidisciplinary care programs through recruitment of neurosurgical sub-specialists, enhance neurosurgical services on the Saint Raphael Campus, and focus on translational clinical research programs to deliver cutting-edge neurosurgical treatments to our patients.

Günel replaces Dennis D. Spencer, M.D., Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, who has led the department for the past 27 years. Spencer has also served as director of the Epilepsy and Pituitary Programs, and most importantly has served as a mentor for Günel throughout his career. He will continue his research and active clinic practice.