The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation proudly presents the 2011 Neuroscience Prize to Huda Zoghbi for her pioneering work on revealing the genetic underpinnings of neurological disorders.
Huda Zoghbi discovered that mutations in the MECP2 gene cause Rett syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Her work on MECP2 offers a new understanding of gene regulation in brain disorders and opens a new approach to studies of autism and other psychiatric disorders. She also illuminated the genetic basis of several spinocerebellar ataxias and provided insights on the role of protein aggregation in neurodegeneration.
Huda Zoghbi’s work has inspired many other researchers in the broad field of neurological disorders, and serves as an exemplar of how complex brain disorders can be better understood by basic genetics and molecular neuroscience.