Get to Know Dr. Ekrem Kutluay

Where are you from?

I grew up in Turkey in a small fishing town on the Mediterranean coast. When I was 10, my family moved to Izmir, which is the 3rd biggest city in the country. In Izmir, I attended high school, college, medical school, and completed a residency.

What inspired you to study Neurology?

In school, I was always interested in brain function. I did a third of my neurology internship in Ulm, Germany which is actually where Einstein was born. In Ulm, my mentor was a famous professor who inspired me to choose neurology as my future career.

What brought you to MUSC?

I came to the US in 1997 to get specialized in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology. I then did a year of research fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and two years of clinical fellowship at University of Michigan. In 2005, I moved back to Turkey and established & directed an Epilepsy and Sleep Disorders Program at a prestigious hospital. This offer was attractive because I was given the opportunity to build something from scratch. Two years after this, I was offered a position at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). I started Clinical Drug Trials program at MCW as an Assistant Professor and was then promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. In 2010, I was presented an opportunity at MUSC.

What are your particular clinical interests?

I enjoy evaluating patients for surgery whose seizures are not responding to traditional medical treatment. I also participate in clinical drug trials with anti-epileptic agents that are not yet approved or not yet on the market. Also, I enjoy studying autonomic dysfunction in patients with seizures.

What made you pursue a career in Academic Medicine?

I greatly enjoy teaching students and residents. I also enjoy participating in different research studies. It’s hard to get bored in this type of environment.

Why would someone want to practice medicine at MUSC?

I am very happy with MUSC and especially the Epilepsy group. As a Level 4 epilepsy center, it is the highest designation a center can get. We also have wonderful support personnel. Our mid-levels providers are phenomenal and we have such a great collaboration with neurosurgery and radiology. We also have state of the art equipment. This makes our lives easier, but it also makes it tougher because we get referred all of the tough cases.

What do you like to do here in Charleston?

I live close to the beach and if I am not dead tired after work I enjoy running at low tide. Charleston has an amazing dining scene. My wife and I love trying new places.

What are a few of your Charleston favorites?

Monza has really authentic, brick oven pizza. I also enjoy Leon’s on upper King street as well as Fig and Charleston Grill.

What other hobbies do you have?

I collect wine mostly from Southern France, Italy and Spain. I also collect vinyl records. I have over 800 records that are mostly classical and jazz. I have had a dream for 20 years to build my own music system to play the records. Vinyl is very clear and natural. I enjoy getting together with friends and colleagues from work to sample several records at my place. Last but not least, I like wildlife photography. Bull Island is my favorite place to go,

If you were not a doctor, what would you be?

A doctor, always a doctor. Combined with it being my top professional choice, it is also sort of a family tradition. Many of my family members practice medicine so I have always been around it and interested. If I had to choose a different career, I would be a chef or professional traveler. There are only a few countries I have not visited in Europe. I have also seen numerous places in the US. However, still Charleston is my favorite…

Doctor Ekrem Kutluay