Taylor J. Abel, MD

  • Associate Professor
  • Chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Chief, Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery
  • Surgical Director, Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program

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

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. Dr. Abel subsequently completed subspecialty 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 general pediatric neurosurgery. 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 is chair of the American Epilepsy Society membership council and serves on the board of directors for both the American Epilepsy Society (ex-oficio) and Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Alliance.

Dr. Abel's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

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 Surgery

Hospital Privileges

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Harrisburg
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
International Society of Pediatric Neurosurgery
International Epilepsy Surgery Society

Professional Activities

Chair, Membership Council, American Epilepsy Society
Board of Directors (ex officio), American Epilepsy Society
Board of Directors, Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Alliance
Co-Chair, Research Subcommittee, AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery

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
  • Certificate, Health Leadership and Business Fundamentals, University of Pittsburgh, 2022

Honors & Awards

  • ICRE Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Pittsburgh, 2024
  • The Philip Troen, MD, Excellence in Medical Student Research, University of Pittsburgh, 2024
  • The Donald S. Fraley Award for Outstanding Medical Student Mentorship, 2023
  • Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Alliance Relentless Service Award, 2022
  • 40 under 40, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2021
  • 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

Research Activities

Dr. Abel’s NIH- and NSF-funded research investigates how the human brain transforms natural sounds from a complex acoustic signal into behaviorally relevant auditory categories using a combination of clinical brain recordings and advanced modeling approaches like encoding models and deep neural network (DNN) models. His clinical research investigates the comparative effectiveness of epilepsy surgery treatments using decision analytic modeling, comparative effectiveness, and other approaches.

Media Appearances