Merlin G. Butler, M.D., Ph.D.

Merlin Butler
  • Professor, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Dr. Butler is engaged in the clinical genetics practice of children and adults presenting for genetics services with emphasis on genetic disorders, developmental disabilities, congenital anomalies, cytogenetic syndromes, Prader-Willi syndrome, early onset of morbid obesity and autism. His research interests include the genetics of obesity with emphasis on Prader-Willi syndrome and obesity-related disorders, autism, psychiatric and behavioral genetics, genotype-phenotype correlations and the natural history and delineation of rare and uncommon clinical genetics syndromes.

He received his M.D. degree from the University of Nebraska in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Medical Genetics from Indiana University in 1984. He completed an American Board of Medical Genetics accredited fellowship in Medical Genetics from 1980 to 1984 and became a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Genetics in 1984. He is board-certified in Clinical Genetics and Clinical Cytogenetics and became a Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) in 1993. He is chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (USA) and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He received the Distinguished Service Award from Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska, in 1986, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University in 2007.

Dr. Butler was a tenured Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology and Director of the Regional Genetics Program at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, from 1984 to 1998. From 1998 to 2008, he was appointed Section Chief of Medical Genetics and Molecular Medicine at Children's Mercy Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine. In 2008, he was appointed Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics and Director, Division of Research, University of Kansas Medical Center.

He has been an active member of several professional organizations including NIH study sections, editorial boards for journals, and conducted extramurally funded research on Prader-Willi, Angelman and fragile X syndromes, the genetics of autism and obesity and delineation of genetic disorders. He has published over 400 research articles, multiple book chapters and edited several journal issues and two textbooks.


Post Doctoral Fellowship, Department of Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine
B.A. in Biology, Chadron State Col.