The curator of Al-Arz, Huda Al-Zoghbi, is recognized for her research in genetics and brain disorders

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Courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine

Maria Morcas

1/10/23 9:12 PM

Dr. Hoda Al-Zoghbi, the honorary agent of Rice Rice, is among the beneficiaries of the program 2022 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience. She and her colleagues received this award for their discovery of genes responsible for serious brain disorders.

Kavli Prize in Neuroscience Provided by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters. In 2022, the prize will be awarded to Zogby and her collaborator Harry T. Boston Children’s Hospital.

The award honored Zogby’s independent work on Rett syndrome, a rare genetic mutation that affects brain development in girls, and her collaboration with Orr on their work on spinocerebellar ataxia type I, a progressive movement disorder.

“This is the most special award because it is an acknowledgment of our cooperation since 1988,” Al Zoghbi said. “It’s really special to me [because] Collaborations in science are very important, and recognition of collaborative work is really important.”

Zogby’s interest in Rett syndrome peaked after meeting two clinical patients who had lost language and motor skills at the age of two and developed problems with privacy and balance, among other job losses.

“After I saw the first [two children with Rett syndrome in the United States]I was really intrigued, Zoghbi said, and at the same time I felt the pain of imagining a girl going through this… I was convinced there must be more. I asked the volunteers at the clinic… [to bring] me some records. I reviewed it and found more girls with Rett syndrome. That’s really what decided it for me that I want to go to the lab now and find the cause of Rett syndrome.”

villi I had to Rice Board of Trustees Since 2014 and subsequently elected to the Baker Institute for Public Policy Board of Advisors In 2020. She completed her fellowship training in Pediatric Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine, and later joined its faculty as Professor of Pediatrics, Neuroscience, Neuroscience, Molecular and Human Genetics. In 2010, she founded the Jean and Duncan Institute for Neurological Research at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“The only way you can [make a difference in researching neurological problems] “If you bring people from different disciplines into the same building, encourage them to collaborate, provide them with tools, support, infrastructure, and create a multidisciplinary collaborative environment,” Al Zoghbi said. “Suddenly, we can make a difference.”

Zoghbi is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Arts. She has previously won many awards including Eileen Redding Brinster Award in science or medicine, Brain Award And Breakthrough Award in life sciences.

Zoghbi said she is excited that genetic and molecular discoveries can be used to develop future treatments.

“I think there are a lot of opportunities to introduce new treatments for many diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and various forms of intellectual disabilities,” El Zoghbi said. “The science of the brain is really going to change in the next few years because there’s a lot of opportunity. We’re doing a lot of biology that tells us we’re not shooting in the dark.”

Alex Hahn, a freshman at Brown College, has been working in the Zogby Lab since freshman year. Hahn said he appreciates Zoghbi’s ability to simplify complex scientific concepts and her interest in individual projects.

“It’s really able to simplify even the most complex concepts into really simple terms for the average person, so that even undergraduates, or people who haven’t even taken an AP biology, will be able to understand the science behind,” Hahn said.

Dah-eun Chloe Chung, a postdoctoral fellow in Zoghbi’s lab, said she admires that Zoghbi is a compassionate teacher while aspiring to do good science.

“She gives her trainees a great deal of intellectual freedom when it comes to developing scientific questions and approaches to hypothesis testing, while providing ample feedback to improve studies and steer the project in the scientifically correct direction,” Chung said. .

Zoghbi said she would not trade her life in academia for anything else because her work is rewarding.

“I am very excited about the field of neuroscience; there are so many opportunities… there is so much that all students in neuroscience are willing to discover and make a difference,” Zoghbi said.

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