Angelo State University’s 40th annual West Texas Medical Associates Distinguished Lectureship in Science Honoring Dr. Roy E. Moon will present Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi, professor of pediatrics, neurology, neuroscience, and molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, on Tuesday, March 29, in the Houston Harte University Center, 1910 Rosemont Drive.

courtesyASU

Zoghbi will give presentations titled “On the Level: Equilibrium on the Brain” at 2 p.m. and then “The Story of Rett Syndrome: Insight into Neuropsychiatric Disorders” at 8 p.m. in the University Center’s C.J. Davidson Conference Center. Both lectures are open free to the public.

Also director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Zoghbi is one of the world’s leading experts on the rare Rett syndrome and other neurological disorders.

A native of Beirut, Zoghbi began her medical training at American University of Beirut in 1973, but left Lebanon for the U.S. before completing medical school when civil war broke out and her house was damaged by bombs. She went on to graduate from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and joined the Baylor College of Medicine pediatrics residency program. Her interest then turned from pediatric neurology to genetics research in 1983 after she encountered two patients with Rett syndrome, a disabling neurodevelopmental disease characterized by loss of speech and constant hand-wringing. She became dedicated to understanding healthy brain development and what goes awry in specific neurological disorders.

In 1993, Zoghbi and her research collaborators identified the gene responsible for spinocerebellar ataxia. They also went on to demonstrate that the misfolding, aggregation and degradation of the gene play a role in the disorder, a finding relevant to other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. In August 1999, Zoghbi’s group identified the gene that causes Rett syndrome and found that mutations in the gene can also result in learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Her current efforts include translating these discoveries into pharmacological interventions.

In 2004, Zoghbi was elected to the National Academy of Sciences for her research on the molecular genetics of neurological disorders. She is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Lebanese National Academy of Science, and she was named an honorary doctor of medical sciences by Yale University.

The WTMA Lectureship honors Dr. Roy E. Moon, a longtime San Angelo obstetrician and gynecologist, who died in 1976. He practiced for 28 years with Clinic Hospital Medical Associates, now West Texas Medical Associates. The lectureship was established in 1976 and is underwritten by a grant to ASU from the members of WTMA.

For more information, call the ASU College of Arts and Sciences at 325-486-6829.