Principal Investigator: Dr. Huda Zoghbi
Location: Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX, USA
Year Founded: 1988
What disease areas do you research?
What is your research about?
Our laboratory uses multiple methods to explore the underlying causes of different neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. Some diseases we study affect children, like Rett Syndrome. Others affect adults, like spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). We also research how healthy brains grow and develop.
We first seek to understand the mechanism by which a mutant protein causes disease, allowing us to more thoughtfully and effectively develop therapeutic options for the diseases we study. Our work in SCA1 demonstrated that lowering levels of the disease-driving protein is beneficial in the course of disease, informing our approach to the study of other diseases of the brain.
Why do you do this research?
We do this research to help the patients, families and caregivers affected by the diseases we study. Most of the disorders we study currently have no or very few treatment options available, and we hope to help in changing that.
Our lab began with Dr. Zoghbi seeing patients in the clinic who were diagnosed with Rett Syndrome and SCA1. Work with these patients allowed for the discovery of the genes causing these diseases. Today, we hope to aid in understanding how these diseases work and to develop therapies that can then be brought back to the clinic for patients. Furthermore, we hope our findings and the tools we’ve developed will aid in the study of other neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.
On April 8, 1993, both Dr. Huda Zoghbi and Dr. Harry Orr identified the gene, ATXN1, which when mutated, is responsible for causing SCA1. You can read about this discovery here.
For More Information, check out the Zoghbi Lab website!
Written by Stephanie Coffin, Edited by Celeste Suart