Taylor Abel, MD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Surgical Director, Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program

Taylor Abel, MD, is an American Board of Neurological Surgery and American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery certified pediatric neurosurgeon specializing in epilepsy surgery. He is surgical director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Abel is from Seattle, Wash. and completed his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Washington. After his medical education in Seattle, Dr. Abel completed neurosurgery residency at the University of Iowa, where he received specialized training in epilepsy surgery and brain mapping techniques. At Iowa, Dr. Abel completed an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship—receiving the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award—focusing on electrophysiologic mechanisms of face and voice identification in the temporal lobe.

He is one of the few neurosurgeons in North America who has completed subspeciality fellowship training in both pediatric neurosurgery (Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto) and epilepsy surgery (Grenoble, France). Dr. Abel’s clinical practice focuses on caring for children drug-resistant epilepsy and movement disorders. He founded and co-directs the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Multi-Disciplinary Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Clinic, which focuses on providing comprehensive care to children with drug-resistant epilepsy. He performs traditional open epilepsy surgery, stereotactic and minimally invasive epilepsy surgery, and all forms of neuromodulation.

Dr. Abel’s NIH-funded (R01, R21) research program focuses on understanding how the brain processes auditory signals, such as voice and speech, using a combination of electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and lesion mapping techniques. Dr. Abel’s clinical research focuses on clinical trials in epilepsy surgery and comparative effectiveness of different treatments for drug-resistant epilepsy.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Pediatric epilepsy surgery; pediatric stereotactic and functional neurosurgery; general pediatric neurosurgery.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgery
American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surger

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
UPMC Presbyterian

Professional Organization Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Epilepsy Society
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
International League Against Epilepsy
Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery (AANS/CNS)
Society for Neurobiology of Language

Education & Training

  • BS, Neurobiology, University of Washington, 2005
  • MD, University of Washington School of Medicine, 2010
  • Residency, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 2016
  • Fellowship, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 2016
  • Fellowship, Epilepsy Surgery, Centre Hospitalier Grenoble, Grenoble, France, 2017
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, 2018

Honors & Awards

  • Robin and Judith Humphreys Fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery, 2017-18
  • NIH Clinical Research LRP Award, 2014-16
  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2014
  • Neurosurgery Resident Award, AANS/CNS Section on Stereotactic and Functional, 2014
  • Mary Gates Research Scholar, 2005

Selected Publications

Abel TJ, Varela Osorio R, Amorim-Leite R, Mathieu F, Kahane P, Minotti L, Hoffmann D, Chabardes S. Frameless robot-assisted stereoelectroencephalography in children: technical aspects and comparison with Talairach frame techniqueJ Neurosurg Pediatr 22(1):37-46, 2018.

Chabardes S, Abel TJ, Cardinale F, Kahane P. Commentary: Understanding Stereoelectroencephalography: What's Next? Neurosurgery 82(1):E15-E16, 2018.

Abel TJ, Woodroffe RW, Nourski KV, Moritani T, Capizzano AA, Kirby P, Kawasaki H, Howard M 3rd, Werz MA. Role of the temporal pole in temporal lobe epilepsy seizure networks: an intracranial electrode investigation. J Neurosurg 129(1):165-173, 2018.

Abel TJ, Rhone AE, Nourski KV, Ando TK, Oya H, Kovach CK, Kawasaki H, Howard MA 3rd, Tranel D. Beta modulation reflects name retrieval in the human anterior temporal lobe: an intracranial recording study. J Neurophysiol 115(6):3052-61, 2016.

Abel TJ, Manzel K, Bruss J, Belfi AM, Howard MA 3rd, Tranel D. The cognitive and behavioral effects of meningioma lesions involving the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. J Neurosurg 124(6):1568-77, 2016.

Perrodin C, Kayser C, Abel TJ, Logothetis NK, Petkov CI. Who is That? Brain Networks and Mechanisms for Identifying Individuals. Trends Cogn Sci 19(12):783-796, 2015.

Abel TJ, Kawasaki H, Barrash J. Naming and recognition after laser amygdalohippocampotomy: Is the hippocampus involved? Epilepsia 56(8):1317, 2015.

Abel TJ, Rhone AE, Nourski KV, Howard MA 3rd, Tranel D. Investigating the Anterior Temporal Lobe With Direct Intracranial Recordings. Neurosurgery 62 Suppl 1:185-9, 2015.

Abel TJ, Rhone AE, Nourski KV, Kawasaki H, Oya H, Griffiths TD, Howard MA 3rd, Tranel D. Direct physiologic evidence of a heteromodal convergence region for proper naming in human left anterior temporal lobe. J Neurosci 35(4):1513-20, 2015.

Abel TJ, Rhone AE, Nourski KV, Granner MA, Oya H, Griffiths TD, Tranel DT, Kawasaki H, Howard MA 3rd. Mapping the temporal pole with a specialized electrode array: technique and preliminary results. Physiol Meas 35(3):323-37, 2014.

Media Appearances