Chris Gunter, PhD

Associate Professor/Director of Communications Operations

Pediatrics & Human Genetics/Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Phone: 404-785-9593



Dr. Chris Gunter serves as the director for communications operations at the Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and as an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine.
Dr. Gunter earned her Ph.D. in human genetics at Emory University in 1998, studying fragile X syndrome and mechanisms of dynamic mutation. She then moved to Case Western Reserve University and completed both postdoctoral work on X chromosome inactivation and an editorial fellowship at the journal Human Molecular Genetics. From 2002 to 2008, Dr. Gunter served as a senior editor for the journal Nature, handling the areas of genetics, genomics, and gene therapy. She then joined the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology as the director of research affairs, where her responsibilities included creating an academic environment, providing scientific content for multiple audiences, and establishing a new international conference series in immunogenomics.
Currently, she is a frequent lecturer on the editorial process for publishing in scientific journals, the changing landscape of publication and the importance of outreach and engagement using all media.
At the Marcus Autism Center, Dr. Gunter coordinates genetics activities and science communication, working with researchers and the public to publish and translate scientific findings.

Research Interests

Research interests:
How can we measure the effectiveness of techniques of science communication? My research utilizes multiple traditional and social media outputs, along with lecture and outreach formats, to both convey and assess understanding of complex scientific topics like genomic regulation and network effects in complex disease, using autism genetics as the most common example.


OhSS, Galanter J, Thakur N, Pino-Yanes M, Barcelo NE, White MJ, de Bruin DM, Greenblatt RM, Bibbins-Domingo K, Wu AHB, Borrell LN, Gunter C, Powe NR, Burchard EG. Diversity in Clinical and Biomedical Research: A promise yet to be fulfilled. PLOS Medicine2015 Dec 15;12(12):e1001918. PMID: 26671224.

Gunter C(2015). Autism: Seeing the spectrum entire. Nature524,288–289 (20 August 2015) doi:10.1038/524288a.

Klin A, Wetherby AM, Woods J, Saulnier C, Stapel-Wax J, Klaiman C, Jones W, Rubin E, Scahill L, Call N, Bearss K, Gunter C, Courtemanche CJ, Lemieux A, Cox JC, Mandell DS, Van Decar JP, Miller RA, Shireman CL (2015). Toward Innovative, Cost-Effective, and Systemic Solutions to Improve Outcomes and Well-Being of Military Families Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine2015 Mar 4;88(1):73-79. 

MacArthur DG, Manolio TA, Dimmock DP, Rehm HL, Shendure J, Abecasis GR, Adams D, Altman RB, Antonarakis SE, Ashley EA, Barrett JC, Biesecker LG, Conrad DF, Cooper GM, Cox NJ, Daly MJ, Gerstein MB, Goldstein DB, Hirschhorn JN, Leal SM, Pennacchio LA, Stamatoyannopoulos JA, Sunyaev SR, Valle D, Voight BF, Winckler W, Gunter C(2014).  Guidelines for investigating causality of sequence variants in human disease. Nature508:469–476.

Gelbart M & Gunter C(2013). Conference Scene: Accelerating public awareness in the age of personal genetics. Personalized Medicine10:535–538.

ENCODE Project Consortium, Bernstein BE, Birney E, Dunham I, Green ED, Gunter C, Snyder M [total 440+ authors] (2012). An integrated encyclopedia of DNA elements in the human genome. Nature489(7414):57-74.