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Dr. Zoghbi receives seven-year Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

Jul. 30, 2015
Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi, professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator and the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) of Texas Children’s Hospital, has been selected to receive the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, an unusual seven-year grant.

This is a special honor bestowed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), an agency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to investigators who have “history of exceptional talent, imagination and preeminent scientific achievement in the field of neurological science, and who are expected to be exceptionally productive during the tenure of the grant”.

This award was established In October 1983 to honor the late Senator Jacob Javits, a strong advocate for neurological research and who himself suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative neurological disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Dr. Zoghbi received this award for her research on Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA), a neurodegenerative disorder. She identified the causative gene for this disorder almost two decades ago and it has remained a major focus of her research program. In addition, she has made exceptional contributions that further our understanding of various neurological diseases and is a world-renowned expert in Rett syndrome.

This award will allow Dr. Zoghbi’s research team to further explore the molecular mechanisms underlying Spinocerebellar Ataxia-1 (SCA1) caused by the expansion of a CAG repeat in ATAXIN-1 protein. As the reviewers noted, the findings resulting from this study will advance our understanding and potentially contribute towards therapy development for other neurological diseases with similar patterns, including Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.