Prof. Huda Zoghbi
Huda Zoghbi is Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, Neuroscience, and Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the founding Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Zoghbi’s interests range from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration. Her discovery (with Harry Orr) that Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 1 is caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract and her subsequent studies 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 postnatal neurological disorder Rett syndrome and revealed the importance of this gene for various neuropsychiatric features. Zoghbi trained many scientists and physician-scientists and is a member of several professional organizations and boards. She has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among Dr. Zoghbi’s recent honors are the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Canada Gairdner International Prize, and Honorary degrees from Yale University, Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.