Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D.
Born June 20, 1954, in Beirut, Lebanon
Undergraduate degree: B.Sc., Biology, American University of Beirut, 1975
Tennessee refugee: Zoghbi transferred to Meharry after her first year of medical school to escape the war in Lebanon.
Comfort food: Zoghbi at first found it hard to adjust to life so far from home. She remembers when she finally discovered a store in Nashville that sold yogurt. It was the highlight of my year.
19791982: Pediatric resident, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
1988: Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Institute for Molecular Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine
Damage control: In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison descended on Houston, dropping almost three feet of rain over the medical center. The basements flooded, and Zoghbi and her colleagues lost half of their mice and many invaluable cell lines. We tried to save as much as we could, she says, but it was a huge loss. Lab work ground to a halt for more than a week as Zoghbi and her team combed the city for dry ice to keep the cell cultures alive and took shifts rescuing as many mice as they could. Some projects were delayed for months while the group labored to rebuild the mouse colonies. It took creativity, she says, but it worked out in the end. People caught up and everything we were working on got published."
SELECTED HONORS, AWARDS, AND FELLOWSHIPS
Member, Institute of Medicine
Head of the class: Zoghbi is the youngest faculty memberand the first womanfrom the Baylor College of Medicine to be elected to the Institute of Medicine.
Get a life: In her 2001 commencement address, Zoghbi encouraged the graduating doctors and scientists to cultivate extracurricular activities. You need to have a life outside the clinic or the lab, she says. Enjoy literature, sports, music, the arts, or whatever helps you unwind and refresh. Although such activities are far removed from your daily work, you will be surprised how engaging your mind in different ways will enhance your creativity and productivity.
SELECTED PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
Editorial Board, Science
More than 140 original research articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Genetics, Neuron, Genomics, Journal of Neuroscience, Human Molecular Genetics, and American Journal of Human Genetics. Reviews in numerous publications. Guest editor for a special issue on Rett syndrome and related disorders in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews.
OUTSIDE THE LAB
Chef Zoghbi: Twice a year, Zoghbi prepares a Lebanese feast for her lab, and every Sunday she tries out a new recipe on her family. I love to cook, she says. When Im doing it, Im totally absorbed. I put on music and Im oblivious to everything else. For the family dinners, she likes to keep things simple and seasonal. Tomatoes are great in summer. Tomatoes and fresh basil. My husband gardens, and I get fresh herbs.
Going home: The Zoghbis return to Beirut every year to visit with family, hike in the mountains, and relax. Its a beautiful citythe Paris of the Middle East, says Zoghbi. Its an intellectual center, with arts and theater, and the country is beautiful, with the sea and the mountain tops. You can swim in the morning and then drive 40 minutes and go skiing.
To do: Im a list person, says Zoghbi. Her lists include, in order of importance, daily chores such as meeting with lab members and editing and reviewing papers, as well as longer-term goals. I like to take life five years at a time, she says. Initially, my long-term goal was to raise decent humans. With her son Anthony in high school and her daughter Roula off to college, Zoghbis next five-year objective is to continue to do science.
© 2013 Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A philanthropy serving society through biomedical research and science education.