Murat Karabiyikoglu, MD, MBA – a former life-science investment professional with the credentials of a former clinically active neurosurgeon – has joined the Foundation as a research fellow on a J-1 Research Visa, where he will participate as a member of the Foundation’s Brain Technical Research Team as well as conduct independent research projects to help make the case for commercial adoption of the technology.
Murat’s background is varied and impressive. In addition to his clinical neurosurgery experience, he also worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University and the University of Michigan (where his research focused on stroke and neuroprotection). After receiving an MBA from the University of Oxford, Murat worked extensively in transaction advisory, corporate development, and venture capital investment roles in the life sciences arena. Below he answers some questions from the Foundation about how his unique background led to an interest in focused ultrasound and what he hopes to accomplish during his year in Charlottesville.
When and how did you first get interested in FUS?
My background is in neurosurgery and I actually gave up practicing about 15 years ago due to vision problems. At times I had considered going back into practice, and I felt the best fit would be functional neurosurgery and deep brain stimulation (DBS). When looking into new developments in DBS, I learned of focused ultrasound and quickly became interested in the technology. I am now also fascinated by its potential use in drug delivery to the brain via opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and in MR-guided focused ultrasound ablation of brain tumors.
You have a unique background of neurosurgery combined with an MBA. Can you tell us a bit more about your experience and how that will influence your work here?
Well, yes – I do not like to talk about myself but I do think what I can offer is my very broad experience. I came to the Foundation with the knowledge of a both a clinical neurosurgeon and a preclinical and clinical researcher. I also have an MBA with expertise in areas such as deals, transactions, licensing, investments, commercialization, etc. I think breadth of experience in both medicine and business will help with an early-stage technology such as focused ultrasound. By working with the Foundation and learning even more about the technology, I can do medical affairs work, some work on development of the field as a new technology, help with raising awareness for focused ultrasound, etc. I’m a scientist at heart so ongoing research is also very stimulating to me.
What are your goals in working at the Foundation? What do you hope to achieve here?
If I can positively impact the field now during my year with the Foundation and then perhaps be an instrumental change agent by championing focused ultrasound technology in the neurosurgery community in Turkey, and help encourage commercial penetration into the Turkish medical market, that would be ideal. If early-stage focused ultrasound companies are interested in collaborative projects with bigger medical technology companies to accelerate their go-to market strategy, I can certainly also help with that. But I also want to learn all I can about the technology and contribute extensively along the way.