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Zoghbi to explore Rett Syndrome at upcoming Vanderbilt Prize Lecture

Apr. 14, 2016, 8:52 AM

Huda Zoghbi, M.D., recipient of the 2015 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science, will deliver her Vanderbilt Prize Lecture on Thursday, April 21.

Huda Zoghbi, M.D.

Her lecture, entitled “The Story of Rett Syndrome and the insight it provides into Neuropsychiatric Disorders,” will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall. Part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series, Zogbhi’s talk is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.

Zoghbi is professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

As a fellow in Pediatric Neurology at Baylor in October 1983, she encountered a 5-year-old girl who had mysteriously lost the ability to speak, walk and use her hands. That week, a paper in the Annals of Neurology described a new entity, Rett syndrome, with the same characteristics.

Sixteen years later, Zoghbi and her colleagues at Baylor reported that Rett syndrome is caused by mutations in an X-linked gene encoding a protein that regulates other gene expression. The discovery opened up a new field of research into disorders of epigenetic regulation.

Zoghbi is the 10th recipient of the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science. Established by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2006, the prize honors women scientists with a “stellar record” of research accomplishments who have made significant contributions to mentoring other women in science.

Prize winners receive an honorarium, meet with Vanderbilt faculty, deliver a Flexner Discovery Lecture and mentor Vanderbilt Prize Scholars, women who are pursuing graduate studies in the biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine. This year’s Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar will be announced during the lecture.

For more information about the Vanderbilt Prize, go to and click on “Vanderbilt Prize.” For a complete schedule of the Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, visit

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