Huda Yahya Zoghbi

Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

2017 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

For discoveries of the genetic causes and biochemical mechanisms of spinocerebellar ataxia and Rett syndrome, findings that have provided insight into the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and neurological diseases.


I have had the privilege of working with wonderful patients, mentors, collaborators, and trainees who have greatly shaped my career. I am grateful to the late Ralph Feigin who taught me clinical scholarship and to Marvin Fishman for training me in child neurology. I am indebted to Arthur Beaudet for teaching me how to be a scientist. I thank my long-term collaborators Harry Orr, Hugo Bellen, and Juan Botas who made invaluable research contributions over the years. The patients I encountered during my neurology training, especially girls with Rett syndrome, inspired me to pursue basic research. I thank them and their families for participating in our studies. I thank the National Institutes of Health for investing in my training as a scientist and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for its support of work I deeply believe in. I have been fortunate to work in a collaborative environment at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. I thank my trainees, who worked tirelessly with me and made research a joy. My deepest gratitude goes to my husband William Zoghbi and our two children, Roula and Anthony, whose unconditional support enabled me to pursue a career I love and cherish.

Huda Yahya Zoghbi

Breakthrough Prize Symposium Talks