Dr. Christian Schaaf, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and a member of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, has received the 2013 William K. Bowes, Jr. Award in Medical Genetics.

The Bowes Award is given annually by Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine, which is located in Boston, Mass. He will receive this award at a special ceremony in Boston on June 19.

The award recognizes an outstanding physician or scientist who early in his or her career in medical genetics has demonstrated a proven record of academic accomplishments, exemplified research and clinical excellence in areas of specialty, and shown exceptional promise and commitment for continued future leadership.

Schaaf’s research focuses on the genetics of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Specifically, he is interested in the underlying causes of high-functioning autism. He has contributed significant advances in proposing a new model of how autism can be inherited.

Prior to training at BCM to become a board-certified medical geneticist, Schaaf received his medical degree and doctoral degree in human genetics from the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

His postdoctoral research was conducted under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Huda Zoghbi, professor of pediatrics, molecular and human genetics, neurology and neuroscience at BCM and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

"Christian is richly deserving of this honor for his research discoveries and scholarly accomplishments and all that he has done for the field of medical genetics at this very early stage of his career," said Zoghbi, who is also director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute.

In addition to his clinical and scientific achievements, Schaaf is a highly regarded educator in the field of human genetics. His textbook Human Genetics – From Molecules to Medicine has received critical acclaim and helps educate students and physicians around the world. Schaaf was recently elected vice president of education of the American College of Medical Genetics.

Schaaf will receive a cash award of $20,000 and a framed certificate. He is the second researcher at BCM to receive this award. Dr. Ayelet Erez received the 2012 award.