Gulay Alper, MD

  • Professor of Pediatrics
  • Director, Clinical Neuroimmunology Program, UPMC Children's Hospital of PIttsburgh

Alper has been an academic child neurologist for 24 years and has a high level of experience in a broad spectrum of disorders of the nervous system. She joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh as a clinician in 2002 and established a new Clinical Neuroimmunology Subspecialty Program. Her expertise is focused on the brain inflammation. Her research areas of interest are pediatric demyelinating disorders, including multiple sclerosis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, transverse myelitis, and optic neuritis.

Alper is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Clinical Neuroimmunology Program. Under her direction, this program has transformed patient management, improved the understanding of inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system, and introduced novel immune therapies for patient care at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Alper has performed key research studies and published extensively in pediatric neuroimmunology. She is recognized nationally and internationally for her knowledge, teaching, and scholarship.

Alper received her medical degree in 1982 from the Hacettepe University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey. Alper completed four years of pediatrics residency training in the Department of Pediatrics at Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine from 1986 to 1990. She was appointed to a faculty position as clinical instructor in the Division of Ambulatory Pediatrics at Istanbul University from 1991 to 1992. She came to the United States in September 1992 and served as a visiting scholar in the Division of Child Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh from September 1992 to June 1993 and then entered and completed a child neurology residency from 1993 to 1996 in the same program. From 1996-2000, Alper served as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Marmara University School of Medicine in Istanbul. She established a new Division of Neurology and Child Development in the Department of Pediatrics and served as chief for three years. Alper worked as a research fellow from 2000 to 2001 in the Neurogenetics Laboratory at the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center. She is a board certified Child Neurologist, became an assistant professor in the Division of Neurology and Child Development Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Alper was promoted to associate professor in 2013, and was promoted to professor in 2019.

Professional and Scientific Society Memberships

  • Child Neurology Society – USA
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group 
  • The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 

Education & Training

  • MD, Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey), 1982
  • Residency in Pediatrics, University of Istanbul, 1986-1991
  • Residency in Pediatrics (Child Neurology), Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 1993-1996
  • Fellowship (Epilepsy), Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 1999
  • ​Research Fellowship in Pediatrics (Child Neurology), Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 2000-2001
  • ​Residency, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, 2002

Selected Publications

Alper, G. Wang L. Demyelinating Optic Neuritis in Children. J Child Neurol. 2009 Jan;24(1):45-8. PMID: 18936195

Alper G, Heyman R, Wang L. Multiple sclerosis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis in children: Comparison of presenting features after long term follow-up. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009 Jun;51(6):480-6. PMID:19018840

Alper G, Petropoulou KA, Fitz CR, Kim Y.  Idiopathic acute transverse myelitis in children: An analysis and discussion of MRI findings. Mult Scler . 2011 Jan;17(1):74-80. PMID: 20858691

Alper, G. Acquired Demyelinating and Other Autoimmune Disorders of the Central Nervous System in Children. J Child Neurol. 2012 Nov; 27(11) 1375-7. PMID: 23034975 

Alper G, Sreedher G, Zuccoli G. Isolated brainstem lesion in children: Is it Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis or not? AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013 Jan;34(1):217-20. PMID:22766674

Fridinger SE, Alper G. Defining Encephalopathy in Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis. J Child Neurol. 2014 Jun;29(6):751-5. PMID:23748203

Dale RC, Brilot F, Duffy LV, Twilt M, Waldman AT, Narula S, Muscal E, Deiva K, Andersen E, Eyre MR, Eleftheriou D, Brogan PA, Kneen R, Alper G, Anlar B, Wassmer E, Heineman K, Hemingway C, Riney CJ, Kornberg A, Tardieu M, Stocco A, Banwell B, Gorman MP, Benseler SM, Lim M. Utility and Safety of rituximab in pediatric autoimmune and inflammatory CNS disease. Neurology. 2014 Jul; 83(2):142-50. PMID: 24920861

Zuccoli G, Panigrahy A, Sreedher G, Bailey A, Laney EJ 4th, La Colla L, Alper G. Vasogenic edema characterizes pediatric acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.  Neuroradiology. 2014 Aug;56(8):679–84. PMID: 24854347

Nosadini, M., Alper, G., Riney, C., Benson, L., Mohammad, S., Ramanathan, S., Nolan, M., Appleton, R., Leventer, R., Deiva, K., Brilot-Turville, F., Dale, R. Rituximab monitoring and redosing in pediatric neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2016 Feb;3(1):1-10. PMID: 26819962

Tantsis EM, Prelog K, Alper G, Antony J , Ardern-Holmes S, Hopkins S, Brenda Banwell B, Benson L, Gill D, Gorman M, Menezes M, Mohammad S, Nosadini M, Ouvrier R, Procopis P, Ramanathan S, Riney C, , Webster R, Lim  M, Brilot F, Dale RC. Distinct MRI features discriminate myelitis associated with entervirus-71, MOG autoantibody, AQP4 autoantibody, and multiple sclerosis in children. Dev Med Child Neurol 61(9):1108-1116

Academic and Research Interests

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Brain inflammation
  • Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
  • MOG antibody associated demyelination
  • Acute transverse myelitis
  • Optic neuritis
  • Acquired demyelinating disorders in children
  • Autoimmune encephalitis
  • Pediatric neuroimmunology
  • Child neurology
  • Neuromyelitis optica