MBL | Biological Discovery in Woods Hole Contact UsDirectionsText SizeSmallMediumLarge

Resources for Reporters:

MBL Publications:

Join the Conversation:
Facebook Twitter Youtube Wordpress

Nobel Laureates

press releases

For further MBL News and Media Information, contact the MBL Communications Office at (508) 289-7423 or e-mail us at comm@mbl.edu .

The Genetics of Rett Syndrome Topic of July 21 MBL Friday Evening Lecture 

WOODS HOLE, MA—Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi, an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, will discuss the neurological disorder Rett syndrome at the annual Forbes Lecture on Friday, July 21 at 8:00 PM in the MBL's (Marine Biological Laboratory) Lillie Auditorium, located on MBL Street in Woods Hole. The lecture, part of the MBL’s 2006 Friday Evening Lectures Series, is free and open to the public. The Forbes Lecture is supported by The Grass Foundation, a private foundation that supports research and education in neuroscience.

Rett syndrome is characterized by normal early development followed by the inability to speak and walk, development of incessant hand-wringing motions, and autistic features. It affects females almost exclusively. The disease is caused by mutations (structural alterations or defects) in the MECP2 (pronounced meck-pea-two) gene, which is found on the X chromosome. Mutations in MECP2 cause not only Rett syndrome, but a variety of other disorders ranging from mild learning disability or autism in females to severe mental retardation, psychoses, or encephalopathy in males.

Dr. Zoghbi will discuss how her genetic, molecular, and electrophysiology studies are beginning to provide insight about the pathogenesis of Rett syndrome and about the role of MeCP2 in postnatal brain development. She will also discuss how studying Rett pathogenesis could shed light into several neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Zoghbi received her B.S. in Biology from The American University of Beirut in 1975 and completed her first year of medical school at the American University of Beirut in 1976. Due to the war in Lebanon, Dr. Zoghbi transferred and finished her M.D. at Meharry Medical College in 1979. Shortly thereafter she joined Baylor College of Medicine for training in Pediatrics, Neurology and Molecular Genetics. She started her first academic appointment at Baylor College in 1988 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and was promoted to full Professor in Pediatrics and Neuroscience and Molecular and Human Genetics in 1994. Dr. Zoghbi has received numerous honors and awards including the Marta Philipson Award for Progress in Pediatrics (2004), and Neuronal Plasticity Prize of the IPSEN Foundation. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She also serves on a number of committees, boards, and panels and is currently on the editorial boards of the journals Neuron, PloS, and Science.

The Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer. All ten lectures in the 2006 series will be delivered by women and will honor MBL's long history of women in science. The remaining lectures in the series are below.

July 28
Glassman Lecture - Marlene Belfort, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health
"Gene, Interrupted: Introns and Inteins in Evolution, Biotechnology, and Medicine"

August 4
Jane Maienschein, Arizona State University
"From Transplantation to Translation: Stem Cells in History"

August 11
Linda A. Deegan, MBL
"Disappearing Streams: The Hidden Casualty of Deforestation in the Amazon"

August 18
Helen M. Blau, Stanford University School of Medicine
"Regulation of Stem Cell Fate and Nuclear Reprogramming"

All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information and for full lecture descriptions, visit www.mbl.edu/fel

—### —

The MBL is an international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.mbl.edu.