School of medicine

School Notes: School of Medicine
January/February 2015

Robert J. Alpern |

Chair of biomedical engineering joins the Institute of Medicine

W. Mark Saltzman, Goizueta Foundation Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the School of Medicine, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the most prestigious bodies in health and medicine. A pioneer in the fields of biomaterials, nanobiotechnology, and tissue engineering, Saltzman leads research at the intersection of basic science and translational research with the goal of promoting new methods for drug delivery and developing new biotechnologies to combat human disease. His research has also contributed to the design and implementation of a number of clinical technologies that have become essential to medical practice today. In 2013, Saltzman was part of an interdisciplinary Yale collaborative team whose work led to a new treatment for glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most aggressive types of malignant brain tumors, that has shown promise in animal studies. The IOM is an honorific membership body that also advises lawmakers, health professionals, and the public on health care and health policy. Saltzman is one of 37 School of Medicine scientists who are members.

New leadership in neurosurgery

Murat Günel, the Nixdorff-German Professor of Neurosurgery and professor of genetics and neurobiology, has been appointed chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. Günel’s 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, the mutational landscape of brain tumors, and a multitude of genes fundamental in cortical development. In 2013 Günel was the senior author of a pivotal study, published in Science, which unveiled that somatic mutations in just five genes can explain the mutational landscape of a majority of meningiomas, the most common type of brain tumor. 

Günel succeeds Dennis Spencer, Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, who led the department for the last 27 years. Spencer, who has served as director of the epilepsy and pituitary programs and as interim dean of the School of Medicine, has mentored Günel throughout his career. Spencer will continue his active research and clinical practices.

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