Huda Zoghbi, an HHMI researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, will deliver a public lecture on "The Path to Understanding and Treating Neurological Diseases" on Tuesday, September 18, 2007.

Internationally renowned physician-scientist, Huda Y. Zoghbi, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, will deliver a public lecture on “The Path to Understanding and Treating Neurological Diseases” at the Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, VA.

Zoghbi will deliver the lecture on Tuesday, September 18, 2007, at 7 PM. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission. Directions for obtaining the tickets will be made available on the HHMI web site at on September 4. Seating is limited to 250 people.

The lecture is the first in a new series called “Dialogues of Discovery at Janelia Farm,” presented by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Institute anticipates that it will host two public lectures each year at Janelia Farm.

The human brain is one of the last frontiers in medicine. It governs all the activities of the human body, houses consciousness, and processes all the information about the world around us. As scientists work to develop treatments and cures for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, mental retardation, autism, Parkinson and Alzheimer disease, some researchers approach the task by trying to understand how normal biological processes have gone awry in these disorders.

Today, millions of individuals are afflicted by such neurological disorders each year. Understanding these diseases and their causes is key to developing more effective diagnosis and therapy. Recent advances in research and medical technology have allowed the identification of disease-causing genes, the engineering of mice that model such diseases, and the identifications of pathways that can be targeted therapeutically.

Zoghbi's lecture will explore how genetic, molecular, and physiological studies are beginning to provide insight about Rett syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that affects children after their first birthday, and spinocerebellar ataxia, a late onset neurodegenerative disease that robs adults of balance, coordination, and the ability to speak and breathe effectively. Zoghbi will map out the path she took from the time she encountered her patients to the point where she is now testing some therapeutic options. She will also discuss how her findings relate to some psychiatric disorders and other late onset neurodegenerative diseases.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Institute of Medicine, Zoghbi has received numerous awards and honors for her research, including the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research; the Kilby Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Society through Science, Technology, Innovation, Invention, and Education; the Sidney Carter Award, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research.

Zoghbi studied at the American University of Beirut, Meharry Medical College and Baylor College of Medicine.

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