"Millions of people suffer from neurological and psychiatric diseases. Our goal is to discover the underlying causes of as many of these disorders as possible and develop effective treatments, improving the lives of patients and their families,” said Dr. Zoghbi. “This is the reason we built the NRI 10 years ago, and what continues to inspire us every day."
In the early 80s and late 90s, as Zoghbi was near the end of her training as a pediatric neurologist, she met a young patient who changed her life. The girl had developed normally until she was 18 months old, when she began to develop seizures and balance problems, was constantly wringing her hands, and could not communicate. Unable to offer her parents anything more than an eventual diagnosis, Zoghbi set out to find answers for this family and many others, dedicating her career to research. She went on to discover the connection between the MEPC2 gene and Rett syndrome in 1999, which paved the way for the development of a diagnostic genetic test for the disease.
Her accolades are many, but Zoghbi remains focused on accelerating life-saving discoveries at the Duncan NRI, as well as advancing and elevating young, up-and-coming investigators, all with the goal of finding treatments that may be used in patients’ lifetimes.
The NRI fosters a one-of-a-kind research environment uniquely designed to impact the future of neurological disease. About 30 investigators from around the world and their research teams, all experts in diverse disciplines – such as genetics, neurobiology, physics, mathematics, bioinformatics and engineering – work in specially designed "collaboratories." These open labs facilitate the free exchange of ideas, information and resources. “Witnessing Dr. Zoghbi and her team revolutionize the field of scientific research with their collaborative culture is nothing short of miraculous,” Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO at Texas Children's Hospital, said. “And then to watch these incredible scientists work seamlessly to transition those discoveries from the lab to the bedside truly convinces me we are headed toward a golden age of effective treatments for neurological disorders.”