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Gurnett named director of pediatric and developmental neurology

Physician-scientist specializes in epilepsy, neurodevelopmental disorders

by Tamara BhandariSeptember 5, 2018

Christina Gurnett, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named director of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology at the School of Medicine and neurologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

“Dr. Christina Gurnett is a superb physician-scientist, and we are fortunate to have her now lead the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology,” said David Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology. “She is an accomplished pediatric epileptologist as well as an innovator in studying the genetic basis of developmental neurological disorders, clubfoot and scoliosis.”

Gurnett is the associate director of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, and director of the Clinical and Translational Core of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. She treats patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she specializes in pediatric epilepsy and neurodevelopmental disorders.

“This is an extraordinary time to care for children with complex neurological disorders, as we are poised to take advantage of major technological advances and gene discoveries to improve the quality of life for children and their families,” Gurnett said. “I am honored to lead the exceptional clinicians and investigators of the division, who exemplify the strengths of the Washington University neuroscience community.”

Also a professor of orthopedic surgery and of pediatrics, Gurnett runs an active research program focused on understanding the genetic basis of musculoskeletal and neurological disorders. She leads a multicenter effort with Matt Dobbs, MD, the Dr. Asa C. and Mrs. Dorothy W. Jones Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, to identify the genetic basis of scoliosis. Her research group also is developing new methods to quantify the functional effects of every possible genetic change in important human disease genes.

Gurnett received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame. She earned her medical and doctoral degrees at the University of Iowa, where she also completed a residency in pediatrics.  She came to St. Louis in 2000 and completed a pediatric neurology and pediatric epilepsy fellowship at Washington University and at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,300 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.