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Dr. Heather Born receives the 2019 Duncan NRI Zoghbi Scholar Award

Dr. Heather Born, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. Anne Anderson, at Baylor College of Medicine, received the 2019 Duncan NRI Zoghbi Scholar Award. This is a special fund established by Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (Duncan NRI) at Texas Children's Hospital, to honor the many generations of trainees who have worked in her laboratory and foster the next generation of successful scientists.

Born’s proposal was titled, "Integrative neurophysiological and behavioral approaches to understanding neuroinflammation in epilepsy.” She received a certificate and plaque from Zoghbi on Nov. 5 at the Duncan NRI.

As this year’s awardee, Born is interested in investigating the role of neuroinflammation in the development of epilepsy and related comorbidities, such as disrupted sleep and cognitive impairments. She proposes to examine the combined impact of neuroinflammation and seizures using molecular biology, neurophysiology and behavioral approaches. This work will provide an opportunity to examine the relationship between seizures, inflammation and neural activity in the context of a single-gene disorder, which, like a number of neurological disorders, has no cure and for which there are limited treatment options.

The award, established in 2017, is open to senior Duncan NRI postdoctoral fellows who anticipate transitioning to independent investigator positions within a year or so. The award is intended to provide grant support and mentorship to senior trainees as they begin to develop ideas for their future research programs. The scholar receives $50,000 to pursue innovative projects that will form the foundation of their independent research programs, in addition to a personal prize of $3,000.

This year, the committee instituted two additional runners-up awards for outstanding applicants. Each of the runner-up awardees will receive $25,000 to support their independent research initiatives and $1,500 personal prize. Dr. Parisa Lofti, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Marco Sardiello’s laboratory, and Dr. Laura Lavery, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Huda Zoghbi’s lab, received the runner-up awards this year.

The selection committee, comprised of Drs. Mingshan XueMarco SardielloMirjana Maletic-Savatic, and Meng Wang, strives to provide equally detailed feedback and mentorship to all the applicants to ensure their future professional success.

More information about the award application process is available here.

Rajalaxmi Natarajan, Ph.D.
Monday, November 11, 2019