- Assistant Professor
Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX US
- Assistant Professor
Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute
Texas Children's Hospital
- Duncan Neurological Research Institute (Office)
Houston, TX 77030
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children's Hospital
- 01/2011 - Houston, Texas United States
- BS from University Of California, Davis
- 06/2001 - Davis, CA United States
- PhD from Baylor College Of Medicine
- 09/2010 - Houston, Texas United States
- Molecular and Human Genetics
- Neurobehavioral & neuropsychiatric genetics, rodent disease models, preclinical studies
Professional StatementMy research program seeks to identify and understand the key neuroanatomical and molecular determinants that govern the complexities of behavior, and how perturbations in these effectors can result in clinical manifestations associated with CNS disorders that emerge across the lifespan of people including monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders (Rett syndrome and related MeCP2 disorders, Fragile X syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis), neuropsychiatric indications (ADHD and schizophrenia) and adult onset neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s disease). Our approach to address these questions leverages the strength of studying two model systems in parallel, laboratory mice and rats, to forge definitive links between manipulations of CNS-related genes in specific brains regions and during critical developmental windows, alterations in neurobehavioral endophenotypes, and changes in EEG-derived measures of in vivo neural network activity associated with these behavioral states.
The experimental framework implementing a cross-species approach, such as that used in our research program, offers unique insight that cannot be readily obtained from studying a single model organism alone. By building upon findings based on evolutionary conservation and collaborating with a team of like-minded driven groups with expertise in human-derived cellular models, human genetic and clinical studies, and high-throughput screening platforms, my overall objectives to elucidate mechanisms of and treatment for CNS disorders may be better realized.
Finally, I am an advocate for “team science”, serving the broader scientific community through several leadership positions of NIH-funded endeavors. I am the Associate Director of the BCM Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), Director of the BCM IDDRC and Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) Neurobehavioral Core Facilities, and am the Academic Lead for the behavioral phenotyping component of BCM’s Knock Out Mouse Project, an NIH Common Fund Research Program contributing to the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium’s overall goal to create and characterize a null allele of every protein-coding gene of the mouse. Through these endeavors and my current research program, I am actively engaged in fostering collaborations with academic, non-profit and industry partners to conduct large-scale rodent behavioral evaluations and preclinical studies.
- Gulinello M, Mitchell HA, Chang Q, Timothy O'Brien W, Zhou Z, Abel T, Wang L, Corbin JG, Veeraragavan S, Samaco RC, Andrews NA, Fagiolini M, Cole TB, Burbacher TM, Crawley JN. "Rigor and reproducibility in rodent behavioral research.." Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2018 January 4; : pii: S1074-7427(18)30001-7. Pubmed PMID: 29307548
- McGraw CM, Ward CS, Samaco RC "Genetic Rodent Models of Brain Disorders: Perspectives on Experimental Approaches and Therapeutic Strategies." Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2017 September ; 175 (3): 368-379. Pubmed PMID: 28910526
- Meehan TF, Mason J, (…), International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, (...), Smedley D. "Disease model discovery from 3,328 gene knockouts by The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium.." Nat Genet.. 2017 49 : 1231-1238.
- Ward CS, Huang TW, Herrera JA, Samaco RC, Pitcher MR, Herron A, Skinner SA, Kaufmann WE, Glaze DG, Percy AK, Neul JL "Loss of MeCP2 Causes Urological Dysfunction and Contributes to Death by Kidney Failure in Mouse Models of Rett Syndrome.." PLoS ONE. 2016 11 : e0165550.
- Chahrour M, O'Roak BJ, Santini E, Samaco RC, Kleiman R, Manzini MC "Current Perspectives in Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Genes to Therapy.." J Neurosci.. 2016 36 : 11402-11410..
- Veeraragavan S, Wan YW, Connolly DR, Hamilton SM, Ward CS, Soriano S, Pitcher MR, McGraw CM, Huang SG, Green JR, Yuva LA, Liang AJ, Neul JL, Yasui DH, LaSalle JM, Liu Z, Paylor R, Samaco RC "Loss of MeCP2 in the rat models regression, impaired sociability and transcriptional deficits of Rett syndrome.." 2016 August 1; 25 (15): 3284-3302. Pubmed PMID: 27365498
- Hao S, Tang B, Wu Z, Ure K, Sun Y, Tao H, Gao Y, Patel AJ, Curry DJ, Samaco RC, Zoghbi HY, Tang J "Forniceal deep brain stimulation rescues hippocampal memory in Rett syndrome mice.." Nature. 2015 526 : 430-4.
- Samaco RC, McGraw CM, Ward CS, Sun Y, Neul JL, Zoghbi HY "Female Mecp2+/- mice display robust behavioral deficits on two different genetic backgrounds providing a framework for pre-clinical studies.." Hum. Mol. Genet.. 2013 January 1; 22 (1): 96-109. Pubmed PMID: 23026749
- Samaco RC, Mandel-Brehm C, McGraw CM, Shaw CA, McGill BE, Zoghbi HY "Crh and Oprm1 mediate anxiety-related behavior and social approach in a mouse model of MECP2 duplication syndrome.." Nat. Genet.. 2012 44 (2): 206-11. Pubmed PMID: 22231481
- Katz DM, Berger-Sweeney JE, Eubanks JH, Justice MJ, Neul JL, Pozzo-Miller L, Blue ME, Christian D, Crawley JN, Giustetto M, Guy J, Howell CJ, Kron M, Nelson SB, Samaco RC, Schaevitz LR, St Hillaire-Clarke C, Young JL, Zoghbi HY, Mamounas LA "Preclinical research in Rett syndrome: setting the foundation for translational success.." Dis Model Mech. 2012 November ; 5 (6): 733-45. Pubmed PMID: 23115203
- McGraw CM, Samaco RC, Zoghbi HY "Adult neural function requires MeCP2.." Science. 2011 July 8; 333 (6039): 186. Pubmed PMID: 21636743
- Samaco RC, Neul JL "Complexities of Rett Syndrome and MeCP2.." J. Neurosci.. 2011 June 1; 31 (22): 7951-9. Pubmed PMID: 21632916
- Chao HT, Chen H, Samaco RC, Xue M, Chahrour M, Yoo J, Neul JL, Gong S, Lu HC, Heintz N, Ekker M, Rubenstein JL, Noebels JL, Rosenmund C, Zoghbi HY "Dysfunction in GABA signalling mediates autism-like stereotypies and Rett syndrome phenotypes.." Nature. 2010 November 11; 468 (7321): 263-9. Pubmed PMID: 21068835
- Samaco RC, Mandel-Brehm C, Chao HT, Ward CS, Fyffe-Maricich SL, Ren J, Hyland K, Thaller C, Maricich SM, Humphreys P, Greer JJ, Percy A, Glaze DG, Zoghbi HY, Neul JL "Loss of MeCP2 in aminergic neurons causes cell-autonomous defects in neurotransmitter synthesis and specific behavioral abnormalities.." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 2009 December 22; 106 (51): 21966-71. Pubmed PMID: 20007372
- Fyffe SL, Neul JL, Samaco RC, Chao HT, Ben-Shachar S, Moretti P, McGill BE, Goulding EH, Sullivan E, Tecott LH, Zoghbi HY "Deletion of Mecp2 in Sim1-expressing neurons reveals a critical role for MeCP2 in feeding behavior, aggression, and the response to stress.." Neuron. 2008 September 25; 59 (6): 947-58. Pubmed PMID: 18817733
- Lee Y, Samaco RC, Gatchel JR, Thaller C, Orr HT, Zoghbi HY "miR-19, miR-101 and miR-130 co-regulate ATXN1 levels to potentially modulate SCA1 pathogenesis.." Nat. Neurosci.. 2008 October ; 11 (10): 1137-9. Pubmed PMID: 18758459
- Samaco RC, Fryer JD, Ren J, Fyffe S, Chao HT, Sun Y, Greer JJ, Zoghbi HY, Neul JL "A partial loss of function allele of methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 predicts a human neurodevelopmental syndrome.." Hum. Mol. Genet.. 2008 June 15; 17 (12): 1718-27. Pubmed PMID: 18321864
- Bowman AB, Lam YC, Jafar-Nejad P, Chen HK, Richman R, Samaco RC, Fryer JD, Kahle JJ, Orr HT, Zoghbi HY "Duplication of Atxn1l suppresses SCA1 neuropathology by decreasing incorporation of polyglutamine-expanded ataxin-1 into native complexes.." Nat. Genet.. 2007 March ; 39 (3): 373-9. Pubmed PMID: 17322884
- Shah R, Medina-Martinez O, Chu LF, Samaco RC, Jamrich M "Expression of FoxP2 during zebrafish development and in the adult brain.." Int. J. Dev. Biol.. 2006 50 (4): 435-8. Pubmed PMID: 16525940
- Society for Neuroscience
- International Society for Autism Research
- Society of Biological Psychiatry
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