Meharry Medical College Alumnus First Recipient of the Mechthild Esser Nemmers Prize in Medical Science

Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D. ’79, recently became the inaugural recipient of the Mechthild Esser Nemmers Prize in Medical Science at Northwestern University.  The Nemmers prize, which carries a $200,000 stipend, is awarded by Northwestern University to a physician-scientist whose body of research exhibits outstanding achievements in their discipline as demonstrated by works of lasting significance.   A jury of distinguished scientists from around the country made the final selection. 

 Dr. Zoghbi is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor at Baylor College of Medicine.  She is well known for her groundbreaking research on Rett syndrome, which includes the discovery of the gene for the neurodegenerative disease.

 In addition to her role as a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, Neurology, and Neuroscience, she is also the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

 Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, Dr. Zhogbi came to Meharry Medical College in the late 1970s after fleeing her country during an outbreak of civil war.  She was enrolled in American University of Beirut, but was forced to transfer her educational pursuits to a school in the United States.  Dr. Zoghbi earned her M.D. from Meharry in 1979.

Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D.

In 2008, she received an honorary degree from the College.  She acknowledges Meharry Medical College’s role in helping her realize her dream of becoming a physician. 

Dr. Zoghbi has been featured and published in more than 160 publications including Nature GeneticsAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, andThe Journal of Neuroscience. She has also served on the editorial board for several scholarly publications including American Journal of Medical Genetics and Annals of Neurology.

In addition to this, Dr. Zoghbi has received numerous awards for her research including being elected to the Institute of Medicine for the National Academy of Sciences, elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the ASO Science and Technology Lifetime Achievement Award from MIT.