The Cell Press–TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series 2014

Featured Speaker: Huda Zoghbi

"A Journey from the Clinic to the Laboratory to Understand Brain Disorders"
  • Bengaluru: January 27, 2014
  • Chennai: January 29, 2014
  • New Delhi: January 31, 2014
This lecture is dedicated to Professor Obaid Siddiqi, visionary scientist and institution builder.

Huda Zoghbi, a physician-scientist in the field of neurogenetics and the recipient of the 2013 pearl Meister Greengard Prize, the 2013 Dickson Prize in Medicine, and the 2011 Gruber Prize in neuroscience was selected as the Featured Speaker of the Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series 2014. Professor Huda Zoghbi's seminal research on the genetic and molecular mechanisms of neurological diseases and the implication of these findings on the development of treatments for disorders were presented in open lectures in January 2014.

Huda Zoghbi is currently Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, Molecular and Human Genetics, and Neuroscience, at the Baylor College of Medicine and Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, a joint endeavour of Baylor and the Texas Children's Hospital. She is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Born Huda El-Hibri in Beirut, Lebanon, Zoghbi did her schooling in that country. She studied the biological sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and entered the medical programme at the AUB's medical school in 1975. When civil war broke out in Lebanon, Zoghbi transferred to a medical college in the United States. After finishing her final year of residency as chief resident of pediatrics, she started a fellowship in child neurology during which she encountered patients with Rett Syndrome. In 1985 she pursued postdoctoral training in molecular genetics to better understand the disease.

She has made a series of notable contributions to our understanding of several distinct classes of inherited neurological disorders. Together with her collaborator, Harry Orr, she has led the polyglutamine field in understanding the role of protein misfolding in pathogenesis and provided a molecular mechanism to explain how diseases such as Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 1 and Huntington Disease can involve both a gain and loss of function. Zoghbi then discovered that the sporadic disease Rett Syndrome is caused by mutations in MECP2. When she realized that slight increases or decreases in expression of the normal protein can also cause neurological phenotypes in mice, she predicted that duplications of the gene will cause disease and indeed she and others tested clinical populations and identified human children with progressive neuropsychiatric syndrome. Zoghbi's work in neurodevelopment led to the discovery of the gene Math 1, which governs the development of several components of the proprioceptive, balance, hearing, and vestibular pathways, and is critical for the central regulation of respiratory rhythm.

Zoghbi is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. She is a trustee at the American University of Beirut.

Selected Honours and Awards

  • 1994Michael E. Debakey Excellence in Research Award, Baylor College of Medicine
  • 1995Kilby Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Society
  • 1996 E. Mead Johnson Award, Society of Pediatric Research
  • 1998Sidney Carter Award, American Academy of Neurology
  • 2001 Bernard Sachs Award, Child Neurology Society
  • 2001 Elected to Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2002 Fellow, AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
  • 2002 Raymond D. Adams Award, American Neurological Association
  • 2004 Robert Wartenberg Award, American Academy of Neurology
  • 2004Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2004 Neuronal Plasticity Prize, 4th Forum of European Science, IPSEN Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2006 Bristol Myers-Squibb Neuroscience Distinguished Achievement Award
  • 2009Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Research
  • 2011 Gruber Prize in Neuroscience, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
  • 2013 Dickson Prize in Medicine
  • 2013 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize

About Professor Obaid Siddiqi

Professor Obaid Siddiqi died on July 26, 2013 at the age of 81. He was still actively running his laboratory at the National Centre for Biological Sciences at Bangalore, an institution he founded, built, and nurtured.

Born on January 7, 1932 in Uttar Pradesh, he studied at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and got his PhD from the University of Glasgow in 1961. He continued his post-doctoral work at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania. In 1962, he moved back to India to set up the Molecular Biology Unit at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai. Thirty years later, he moved to Bangalore as the founding director of the TIFR National Centre for Biological Sciences.

A pioneering biologist, he spanned the spectrum of genetics, neurophysiology, and the study of behaviour. His most enduring contribution was the training of a large number of scientists from India on a one-on-one basis and the building of several national institutions of molecular biology.

His interests were varied and not limited to science. They encompassed politics, classical music, history, the visual arts, and sport.,/

Lecture Schedule

Date, Time, and Venue: Introduction by:
Bengaluru:Monday, January 27, 2014. 4.30 pm.
JN Tata Auditorium,
National Science Seminar Complex,
Indian Institute of Science,
C.V. Raman Road, Bengaluru.
Professor Satyajit MayorDirector,
National Centre for Biological Sciences
Chennai:Wednesday, January 29, 2014. 4.30 pm.
The Music Academy, 168 TTK Road,
Royapettah, Chennai.
N. RamChairman and Publisher of
The Hindu Group of Publications
New Delhi:Friday, January 31, 2014. 4.30 pm.
Teen Murti Auditorium,
Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,
Teen Murti House, New Delhi.
Shri Kapil SibalHon. Minister of Communications & Information Technology and
Law & Justice

The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series

The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series is co-sponsored by Cell Press and TNQ Books and Journals. Planned as an annual event the lectures are aimed at bringing internationally renowned scientists face to face with the Indian scientific community. They are held in Bengaluru, Chennai, and New Delhi each year.

The inaugural speaker of the lecture series was David Baltimore, the American biologist who is currently the Robert A. Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. In 1975, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco.

The second speaker was Elizabeth Blackburn, the Australia-born, American biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, sharing it with Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak.

The third speaker was Shinya Yamanaka, the Japanese physician and celebrated adult stem cell researcher. In 2012 he and John Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells. In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work.

The fourth speaker was Huda Y. Zoghbi, the Lebanese-born physician and medical researcher. She is a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, and Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and the Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital.

The fifth speaker was Eric S. Lander, a mathematician turned biologist turned geneticist, who is President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He serves as Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

The sixth speaker was Professor Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University neuroscientist and psychiatrist, who developed methods that have revolutionised our ability to visualise and manipulate brain circuits.

The seventh speaker was Professor Mary-Claire King, an American human geneticist and professor at the University of Washington. She is known for her accomplishments in identifying breast cancer genes, demonstrating that humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical, and applying genomic sequencing to identify victims of human rights abuses.

The eighth speaker will be Dr David J. Anderson - Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Leadership Chair, and Director of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology - Caltech in Pasadena. He is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

About Cell Press

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cell Press, an imprint of Elsevier, publishes 30 highly cited journals featuring biomedical research and reviews, including its flagship journal, Cell. Its journals include Neuron, Immunity, Developmental Cell, Structure, Current Biology, Cancer Cell, Molecular Cell, Chemistry & Biology, Cell Metabolism, Cell Host & Microbe, Cell Stem Cell, the new Open Access journal - Cell Reports, 14 Trends review titles and three society journals, the monthly journals of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Biophysical Society and the upcoming new Open Access journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

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Chennai-based TNQ Books and Journals delivers pre-publishing services and publishing technology solutions to leading publishers of Scientific, Technological, and Medical (STM) books and journals. Having begun operations in 1998, TNQ has emerged the preferred supplier to its client publishers in the US, UK, and EU. Today, TNQ has around 2000 employees, almost all with a strong educational background in science. Its mission is to provide the highest quality content both for print and the web, using cutting edge technologies and creative solutions.

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