Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, and Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, USA
Huda Zoghbi, M.D., is Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, Neuroscience, and Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and serves as an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is also the founding Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Zoghbi’s interests range from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration. Her discovery that Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 1 is caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract and that such expansion leads to accumulation of the mutant protein in neurons has had profound ramifications since many late-onset neurological disorders involve similar accumulations of disease-driving proteins. Zoghbi’s work in neurodevelopment led to the discovery of the gene Math1/Atoh1 and to showing that it governs the development of several components of the proprioceptive, balance, hearing, vestibular, and breathing pathways. Zoghbi’s group also discovered that mutations in MECP2 cause the neurological disorder Rett syndrome. We now know that mutations in this gene are responsible for a broad spectrum of disorders ranging from mild cognitive disabilities to autism. Her lab is focused on understanding how loss of MeCP2 alters neuronal function to cause behavioral abnormalities. Zoghbi trained many scientists and physician-scientists and is a member of several professional organizations and boards. Among Dr. Zoghbi’s honors are the Gruber Prize in Neuroscience, the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize from Rockefeller University, the Scolnick Prize from MIT, and the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. In 2000 she was elected to the Institute of Medicine, and in 2004 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.