Huda Zoghbi, M.D.

Professor, Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics Pediatrics, Neurology, & Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine Director, Jan & Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi is an internationally renowned physician-scientist and a central figure in the Rett Syndrome research field. She focuses on genetic and cell biology approaches to explore neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases.

Dr. Zoghbi began her career as a pediatric neurologist, but a chance encounter with a young child with Rett Syndrome drew her from clinical practice into the world of genetics research. She went on to discover the gene Math1 and the molecular pathology underlying spinocerebellar ataxia 1. In 1999, after a 16-year search, the Zoghbi lab identified mutations in the MECP2 gene as the cause of Rett Syndrome. Mutations in MECP2 are now being seen in some cases of childhood schizophrenia, classic autism and learning disabilities.

She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a member of the National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine. She is also a member of the Lasker Award jury. Her many awards include the nation’s most distinguished pediatric research award, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research; the Kilby Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Society through Science, Technology, Innovation, Invention, and Education; the Sidney Carter Award, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research.

In 2011 she won the prestigious Gruber Neuroscience Prize  and the Scolnick Prize. Dr. Zoghbi was awarded the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize in 2013, one of the most prestigious award given to a woman scientist.

Dr. Zoghbi serves as director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital which officially opened in December of 2010. It is the first facility of its kind in the United States with a multidisciplinary research approach dedicated to understanding the unique issues of a child’s brain structure, development patterns and related diseases.

She is on the editorial boards of the journals Science, Neuron, and PloS.

Dr. Zoghbi studied at the American University of Beirut, Meharry Medical College and Baylor College of Medicine. She has honorary degrees from Yale University, Meharry Medical School and Middlebury College.

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