Biography of

Paul Christopher Francel, M.D. , Ph.D., M.Div. 



Dr. Francel retired from medical practice December 24, 2008.  After working about 80 hours of week for so many years it was good for him to spend time with family, friends, and in doing the Lord's work.

After time for much reflection and prayer, he accepted God's call to the ministry which he had been aware of for a number of years.  More and more he began to see the bigger picture and realize no matter how important it was to save and improve people's physical lives, helping them find the Lord and eternity in heaven was so much more important than that.  Our lives here in earth are so short in comparison.

He started seminary and graduated from St. Paul School of Theology in Oklahoma City  August 24, 2012 with a Master of Divinity degree (see picture below).  He has served his church on the parish council, as lay liturgist, and teacher for adult classes on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights.  He and has wife taught children's Sunday School for a number of years. 

He is Assistant Minister to Pastor Mark Borseth at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Yukon, OK. He is President of the Oklahoma Czech Sokol, Trustee of the Czech Hall, and author of an historical novel which will, hopefully, be made into a movie eventually.  He is on the Library Board of Directors at Piedmont Friends of the Library.  He is Co-Director of the Piedmont Park Project. He is head of the Park and Recreation Board for the City of Piedmont, he is Historical Society President, and assists with his son's Boy Scout troop.

I know he is a wonderful minister, as I have found him to be one of the most dynamic Christians I have ever met.   Truly, no person has inspired me more in the faith than Dr. Francel.  I have heard him speak on several occasions and he is an outstanding speaker as well.  I have been blessed to call him friend and a dear brother in Christ for 18 years now.

Dr. Francel is married to Lisa Gigstad, Executive Director of the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce. Lisa also sings with the Canterbury Voices in Oklahoma City and serves on the United Way Board of Directors.  She studied Marketing and Management at the University of Chicago and Medical History at the University of Kansas.

Dr. Francel and Lisa are the parents of 5 amazing children and grandparents to one beautiful granddaughter.  One of the sons was a foster child they have now adopted.  He is a remarkable young man and great addition to the family.  Dr. Francel has six siblings. 



Dr. Paul Francel at graduation from seminary - Master of Divinity

St. Paul's School of Theology in Oklahoma City - August 24, 2012

Congratulations Dr. Francel!!




Dr. Francel's Exciting Endeavor

The Piedmont Park Project

Click on the box above to go there

and learn much more


Dr.  Francel graduated Magna cum Laude from Harvard University  in three years (1982) majoring in Biology. He earned his Ph.D.  from the Department of Pharmacological/Physiological Sciences at the University of Chicago (1987) with his research being in neurobiochemistry and neuropharmacology, and his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of  Medicine (1989). This was part of an NIH funded scholarship for his education. The Toledo, Ohio native did his internship and residency training at the University of Virginia and included a year of study in Plymouth, England, and a year of pediatric neurosurgery at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.  

As a resident Dr. Francel trained with the father of cavernous sinus surgery Dr. Vinko Dolenc and also Dr. John A. Jane--both world famous neurosurgeons at the University of Virginia which is a center known for being one of the premier neurosurgery training programs in the world.


Dr.  Dolenc (left) and Dr. Jane (right)

He was Chairman of the Oklahoma Physician's Advisory Board and Co-Chairman of the National Physician's Advisory Board to President Bush and U.S. Congress.

Dr. Francel was formerly a tenured Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Chief of Functional and Stereotactic Neurosurgery, Medical Director of the Gamma Knife Center, Director of The Multidisciplinary Craniofacial Clinic, Co-Director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery, and a member of the University-Presbyterian Neurological Institute.  After working at OUHSC he was in private practice until December of 2008.


Dr. Paul Francel in Surgery

He was nationally involved in functional and stereotactic neurosurgery, including Gamma Knife and Cyberknife.  Dr. Francel had research  interests in epilepsy, vagus nerve stimulators, invasive monitoring with cerebral blood flow probes,  motor, sensory, and speech mapping for tumors in eloquent brain; and computer directed 3-D surgery for epileptic focus resection and electrode placement. He has done spinal cord stimulation to control pain in the neck, back and arms and legs and implants morphine pumps.  See this story about how Dr. Francel treated epilepsy with surgery.  Also, the homepage has a story about that.


He was trained for use of the Gamma Knife by Dr. Ladislau Steiner of the University of Virginia, one of the developers and refiners of the device.  Dr. Francel was one of the top physicians in the state that utilizes the Gamma Knife.  See this story about a patient treated by the Gamma Knife for an acoustic neuroma.


Dr. Ladislau Steiner

Dr. Francel was formerly Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Oklahoma. He is a member of the American Board of Pediatric Neurosurgery and a member of numerous pediatric neurosurgical societies, including, pediatric brain study groups.   He directed the Craniofacial Program at OUHSC and and a multidisciplinary spasticity program.  He performed endoscopic cranial surgery and  general pediatric and adult neurosurgery.  

He developed a multi-disciplinary skull-based program combining specialists in numerous surgical fields as a team for the removal of cranial or skull base tumors, such as cavernous sinus tumors. He was a member of the North American Skull Base Society and the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. Dr. Francel founded the skull base tumor center in Oklahoma.  He had expert training in pituitary surgery.

Dr. Francel excelled in the treatment of  infants with plagiocephaly, a flat or misshapen head often caused by the "back to sleep campaign" to prevent SIDS.  It affects  approximately 1 out of 60 infants.  He also successfully treated craniosynostosis in infants. Craniosynostosis is a congenital anomaly characterized by the premature closure of one or more cranial sutures (the fibrous joints between the bones of the skull). The disorder results in an abnormal skull and head shape.  It affects about 1 out of 1000 infants. 

He was skilled at repairing Chiari I Malformations. He performed that surgery very often, probably more frequently than any other surgeon in this part of the country.   See how Jennifer Hendricks was cured of her Chiari I Malformation by Dr. Francel.

Dr. Francel performed general neurosurgery for benign and malignant brain tumors and also repaired/treated aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).  He performed adult and pediatric spinal surgery including spinal instrumentation.   See the homepage and this page for a story about successful brain tumor removal Also, see this page for another brain tumor removal.  See this page for his surgical treatment of spinal stenosis.

Dr. Francel has done a number of Deep Brain Stimulation surgeries helping persons with movement disorders.  See this story about a Rachael Merritt  treated for Dystonia with  DBS.  After 10 years she was able to get out of her wheel chair and walk.

Most of Dr. Francel's cranial surgery utilized 3D image/computer guidance.   He was board certified in neurosurgery.  He wrote over 150 articles.

He and his wife enjoy performing at the Yukon Czech Festival in their native costumes.  He wrote an historical book which may be made into a movie about his parents' experiences and escape from communism in Czechoslovakia during World War II and their immigration to the U.S.  His father, Dr. Josef Francel, became a research scientist/engineer and after retirement was a lay minister for over 10 years.  He was such a remarkable man.  Click on this line to go to see his memorial page.  Click on this line to go to see 2 different obituaries of his on this website.   Go here to see the memorial page of Dr. Francel's mother Vlasta M. Francel, wife of Josef Francel.


This biography was written with information that I (Nancy Allen) mostly collected. 

Some was provided by my good friend Dr. Francel.

I tried my best to get everything correct. 

If there are any errors, it is my mistake not his.

Nancy Allen

The transition was anything but easy.

Click on the blue box above to go there.



T H E    B R A I N
A Continuing Challenge for Medical Science

There is more written about the brain medically
than the whole rest of the body combined.
There is just a lot more to know about the brain,
and to throw out a percent is a bit of guess,
but I would guess we maybe know  5 or 10%
of what there is to know about it.
By Paul C. Francel, M.D., Ph.D. 2000

Dr.  Paul C. Francel  Links

My Personal Thoughts About Dr. Francel

Brainwavz Homepage -
Inspirational stories about Arnold and Nancy Allen and friends.