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Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D.

Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D.

Huda Y. Zoghbi, an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, serves as director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital. She holds the Ralph D. Feigin Chair at Baylor College of Medicine, where she is also a professor of pediatrics, neurology, neuroscience, and molecular and human genetics.

Zoghbi’s interests range from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration, and she has made many seminal discoveries in neurological disease research that provided insight into their pathogenesis. She co-discovered the gene that causes spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, a crippling neurological disease. She and her team then discovered that mutations in MECP2 cause the Rett syndrome, a disorder that affects the neurodevelopmental process in girls. Mutations in this gene may be responsible for a broad spectrum of disorders ranging from mild intellectual disability to autism. She and her colleagues also identified the gene Math1/Atoh1, which regulates various components of the proprioceptive, respiratory, and auditory networks including tiny inner ear hair cells, essential elements of hearing and balance in mammals.

Zoghbi serves as a board member of several professional organizations, including the McKnight Foundation Neuroscience Board, and is a senior editor for the journal eLife. In 2000 she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and in 2004 to the National Academy of Sciences. Among Zoghbi's honors are the Vilcek Prize, the Gruber Prize in Neuroscience, the Dickson Prize in Medicine, the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, the Edward M. Skolnick Prize in Neuroscience from the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and most recently the Mechthild Esser Nemmers Prize in Medical Science from Northwestern University and the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.

She received her undergraduate degree from the American University of Beirut and her M.D. from Meharry Medical College.