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Molecular and Human Genetics

Houston, Texas

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
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Paolo M. Moretti, M.D.

Paolo M. Moretti, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics

Other Positions

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology


M.D., University of Padua School of Medicine, Italy, 1990
Research Fellow, University of Padua School of Medicine, Italy, 1992
Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University, 1997
Resident in Neurology, University of Michigan, 2001
Fellow in Clinical Genetics and Postdoc, Baylor College of Medicine, 2004

Research Interests

My laboratory uses a combination of clinical, genetic, and molecular approaches to study the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disease, and the biological basis of inter-individual variability in response to traumatic brain injury.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a multifactorial neurological disorder. Several genes and pathways have been implicated in its pathogenesis and environmental factors have been shown to either cause parkinsonism or to be associated with an increased risk of PD. However, the relationships between these pathways remain to be elucidated. We have identified a number of novel protein-protein interactions with the products of known PD disease genes. We are currently characterizing the functional role of selected interactions, focusing on those shared between different PD genes.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death or life-long disability in people of all ages. Considerable variability exists in the clinical outcome after TBI, which is only partially explained by known factors. Clinical data suggest that one of these factors is the presence of individual differences in susceptibility to the effects of trauma. However, the cellular and molecular pathways underlying this heterogeneity remain largely unknown. We hypothesize that outcome from TBI correlates, at least in part, with differences in individual susceptibility to axonal injury. We have developed in vitro models of cellular and axonal injury relevant to the pathogenesis of TBI using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons obtained from TBI patients. We are currently studying the responses of human glutamatergic cortical projection neurons to insults known to occur in TBI.

Selected Publications

  1. McCauley SR, Wilde EA, Moretti P, Macleod MC, Pedroza C, Drever P, Fourwinds S, Frisby ML, Beers SR, Scott JN, Hunter JV, Traipe E, Valadka AB, Okonkwo DO, Zygun DA, Puccio AM, Clifton GL (2013). Neurological Outcome Scale for Traumatic Brain Injury: III. Criterion-Related Validity and Sensitivity to Change in the NABIS Hypothermia-II Clinical Trial. J. Neurotrauma 30(17): 1506-11. PubMed PMID: 23617608
  2. Kalkonde YV, Shelton R, Villarreal M, Sigala J, Mishra PK, Ahuja SS, Barea-Rodriguez E, Moretti P, Ahuja SK (2011). The CC chemokine receptor 5 regulates olfactory and social recognition in mice. Neuroscience 197: 153-61. PubMed PMID: 20210593
  3. Wilde EA, McCauley SR, Kelly TM, Levin HS, Pedroza C, Clifton GL, Robertson CS, Valadka AB, Moretti P (2010). Feasibility of the Neurological Outcome Scale for Traumatic Brain Injury (NOS-TBI) in adults. J. Neurotrauma 27(6): 975-81. PubMed PMID: 20210593
  4. Wilde EA, McCauley SR, Kelly TM, Weyand AM, Pedroza C, Levin HS, Clifton GL, Schnelle KP, Shah MV, Moretti P (2010). The Neurological Outcome Scale for Traumatic Brain Injury (NOS-TBI): I. Construct validity. J. Neurotrauma 27(6): 983-9. PubMed PMID: 20210594
  5. Fyffe SL, Neul JL, Samaco RC, Chao HT, Ben-Shachar S, Moretti P, McGill BE, Goulding EH, Sullivan E, Tecott LH, Zoghbi HY (2008). Deletion of Mecp2 in Sim1-expressing neurons reveals a critical role for MeCP2 in feeding behavior, aggression, and the response to stress. Neuron 59(6): 947-58. PubMed PMID: 18817733
  6. Moretti P, Peters SU, Del Gaudio D, Sahoo T, Hyland K, Bottiglieri T, Hopkin RJ, Peach E, Min SH, Goldman D, Roa B, Bacino CA, Scaglia F (2008). Brief Report: Autistic Symptoms, Developmental Regression, Mental Retardation, Epilepsy, and Dyskinesias in CNS Folate Deficiency. J. Autism Dev. Disord. 38(6): 1170-7. PubMed PMID: 18027081
  7. Moretti P, Zoghbi H (2006). MeCP2 Dysfunction in Rett Syndrome and Related Disorders. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 16(3): 276-81. PubMed PMID: 16647848
  8. Moretti P, Levenson J, Battaglia F, Atkinson R, Teague R, Antalffy B, Armstrong D, Arancio O, Sweatt D, Zoghbi H (2006). Learning and memory and synaptic plasticity are impaired in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. J. Neurosci. 26(1): 319-27. PubMed PMID: 16399702
  9. Moretti P*, Bouwknecht JA*, Teague R, Paylor R, Zoghbi H (2005). Abnormalities of Social Interactions and Home Cage Behavior in a Mouse Model of Rett Syndrome. Hum. Mol. Genet. 14(2): 205-20. *Equal contribution. PubMed PMID: 15548546

Contact Information

Paolo Moretti, M.D.
Departments of Neurology and Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, MS NB302
Houston, TX, 77030, U.S.A.

Phone: 713-798-7573 (office) 713-798-7574 (lab)
Fax: 713-798-2723

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