Hsiao-Tuan Chao Lab

Hsiao-Tuan Chao Lab News

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2022

May 31, 2022 - Welcome Jordan Wu to the lab for her summer research internship. We are excited to work with Jordan on discovering and understanding the genetic basis of autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders. 

May 31 - June 2, 2022 - Congratulations to graduate student Jess Pfliger and senior research coordinator Vanesa Lerma on their great poster presentations at the 2022 Molecular and Human Genetics department retreat! 

May 2, 2022 - Welcome Dalia Gomez to the lab as research technician. We are excited to work with Dalia to continue growing the research studies and developing new research directions!

April 16, 2022 - Congratulations to BCM MSTP student Cole Deisseroth and lab members Vanesa Lerma (research coordinator), Jess Pfliger (DDMT graduate student), and Christina Magyar (MSTP/Genetics and Genomics graduate student) for the official publication of their paper "An integrated phenotypic and genotypic approach reveals a high-risk subtype association for EBF3 missense variants affecting the zinc finger domain" at the Annals of Neurology. Proud of the stellar young trainees and the high school summer interns who launched the initial meta-analysis, Aarushi Nayak and Nathan Bliss. We are grateful to work with wonderful collaborators on the study including Dr. Ashley LeMaire, Dr. Vinodh Narayanan, Chris Balak, Dr. Ginevra Zanni, Dr. Enza Maria Valente, Dr. Enrico Bertini, Dr. Paul Benke, and Dr. Mike Wangler; and the support of the families and the EBF3-HADDS Foundation. 

April 9, 2022 - Proud of postdoctoral scientist Dr. Maimuna Paul for her superb platform presentation on the collaborative discovery of a new translationopathy neurodevelopmental syndrome at the 63rd Annual Drosophila Research Conference! Exciting collaboration with Dr. Pankaj Agrawal and Dr. Anna Duncan. Kudos!

March 26, 2022 - The accepted version of MD PhD student Cole Deisseroth's first author paper on "An integrated phenotypic and genotypic approach reveals a high-risk subtype association for EBF3 missense variants affecting the zinc finger domain" is available online with Annals of Neurology!

March 25, 2022 - Postdoctoral associate Dr. Maimuna Paul is awarded BCM's Dean's Award of Excellence in recognition of receiving a competitive prestigious fellowship. Kudos!

March 23, 2022 - We are happy to welcome DDMT graduate student Jessica Pfliger to our research team! Looking forward to building her collaborative project on EBF3 with Dr. Matt McGinley.

March 21, 2022 - MSTP medical student Cole Deisseroth's paper with Vanesa Lerma, Jessica Pfliger, Christina Magyar, Aarushi Nayak, Nathan Bliss, and collaborators on "Integrated phenotypic and genotypic approach defines EBF3-related genotype-phenotype relationships" has been ACCEPTED! Full announcement to follow publication. Kudos!

March 21, 2022 - Welcome Sydney Michener to the lab as research coordinator. We are excited to work with Sydney to continue growing the clinical studies and developing new research directions. 

March 4, 2022 - Lab alumnus and Autism Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship Awardee, Nathan Bliss, matched with McGovern medical school at UT Health! Congratulations Nathan! We are excited that you will be returning to the Texas Medical Center!

March 1, 2022 - Postdoctoral associate Dr. Maimuna Paul's poster on the role of damaging EIF4A2 genetic variants in epilepsy and neurodevelopmental delay, and research coordinator Vanesa Lerma's poster on neurocognitive and neuroanatomical alterations in EBF3-related neurodevelopmental disorders are accepted for the 2022 Pediatric Research Symposium.

March 1, 2022 - Congratulations to Dr. Joshi Stephen for his promotion to Staff Scientist with the Human Genome Sequencing Center! Kudos!

Feb. 28, 2022 - Today is a worldwide celebration of Rare Diseases Day. Research coordinator Vanesa Lerma and CTR-CAQ mentored graduate student John Thomas Gebert discuss the importance of partnerships between patients, families, clinicians, and research scientists in honor of Rare Diseases Day, HADDS Awareness month, and EBF3-related disorders.

Feb. 23, 2022 - MSTP/Genetics&Genomics graduate student Christina Magyar's first author paper on PRUNE1 is officially published at the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A! Congratulations to Christina and the co-authors for a wonderful achievement. 

Feb. 18, 2022 - Celebrating EBF3-related HADDS Awareness month and Maimuna's fellowship announcement. Chao lab members are honored by the enduring support from the EBF3-HADDS Foundation, families, and friends. 

Feb.16, 2022 - Postdoctoral associate Dr. Maimuna Paul is awarded a prestigious post-doctoral fellowship for her work on EBF3 in the cerebellum! Full announcement to come following the official announcement from the foundation. A well-deserved honor! Congratulations Maimuna!

Feb. 8, 2022 - Research coordinator and scientist Vanesa Lerma received her acceptance to the clinical neuropsychology PhD program at the University of Houston GENESIS lab! Kudos Vanesa! Excited for her next big chapter. 

Feb. 7, 2022 - Chao lab celebrates Christina's paper acceptance with sweets, drink, and displaying Christina's poster in the lab together. Kudos! A tremendous accomplishment in less than year of joining the lab. 

Feb. 4, 2022 - Graduate student Christina Magyar's first author paper on “Novel PRUNE1 c.933G>A (p.Thr311=) synonymous splice variant induces exon 7 skipping and leads to an atypical presentation of NMIHBA syndrome” is ACCEPTED at the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. It's a beautiful paper and well-deserved. Congratulations Christina!

Jan. 21, 2022 - Chao lab members are honored to host our Neuroscience Seminar speaker Dr. Annapurna Poduri (Harvard) on "Mosaicism in Epilepsy: From Human Genetics to Models".

Jan. 13, 2022 - Postdoctoral associate Dr. Maimuna Paul's collaborative study "Rare EIF4A2 variants are associated with a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by intellectual disability, hypotonia, and epilepsy" has been selected for a platform oral presentation at the 2022 Genetics Society Meeting. A tremendous honor! Kudos Maimuna!

2021

Dec. 14, 2021 - Congratulations Christina on being awarded the 2021 Professor John J. Trentin Scholarship award for academic excellence. Kudos to a wonderful achievement!

Dec. 4, 2021  - Kudos to graduate student Christina Magyar for her great poster presentation on “Novel PRUNE1 c.933G>A (p.Thr311=) synonymous splice variant induces exon 7 skipping and leads to an atypical presentation of NMIHBA syndrome” at the 2021 Texas Medical Center Neuroscience Research Symposium.

Nov. 16, 2021 - Chao lab members are honored to host our second Molecular and Human Genetics Seminar speaker for the year, Dr. Michael Kruer, (University of Arizona, Phoenix) on "Cerebral palsy genomics: neurodevelopmental mechanisms in childhood movement disorders".

Nov. 2, 2021  - Chao lab members are honored to host our Molecular and Human Genetics Seminar speaker Dr. Elizabeth Engle (HHMI/Harvard) on "Cell-type aware interpretation of non-coding variation in congenital cranial dysinnervation disorders". 

Oct. 29, 2021 - As we near the end of the second year in the era of the COVID pandemic, we are excited to get in the festive spirit and celebrate Halloween in costume.

Oct. 15, 2021 - Chao lab members celebrated Hispanic Heritage Block Party at BCM. Honored to celebrate the tremendous contributions and influence of our friends, colleagues, and family members to the history, culture, and achievements of our community and nation. 

Sept. 30, 2021  - Congratulations to our MSTP medical student Cole Deisseroth for a stellar platform presentation at the 2021 Child Neurology Society meeting on his study "Integrated phenotypic and genotypic approach defines Ebf3-related genotype-phenotype relationships". A great recognition that is well-deserved! 

Sept. 24, 2021 - Thrilled to celebrate our graduate student Christina Magyar's submission of her first author paper from the lab to the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. This collaborative study with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network is the first of many papers to come from Christina's contributions to the research endeavors. 

Sept. 3, 2021 - Congratulations to our co-mentored MSTP and DDMT Graduate Student John Thomas Gebert for being awarded the 2021 Cornerstone grant for his project studying the role of Ebf3 in gastrointestinal development and dysmotility! Excited to grow the collaborative project. Kudos!

Aug. 11, 2021 - Congratulations to NARSAD Young Investigator Awardee Dr. Sahana Sreekanta Murthy for her promotion to Field Medical Director - Pfizer (Immunology and Inflammation, Dermatology) at The Medical Affairs Company. A wonderful opportunity to bridge academic research with industry. Kudos!

Aug. 9, 2021 ­- Congratulations to our MSTP and Genetics & Genomics Graduate Student Christina Magyar for being selected to give a poster presentation at the 2021 American Society for Human Genetics annual meeting! This is a wonderful recognition of the importance of her collaborative study with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network for the ASHG community. Christina will be presenting our study “Novel PRUNE1 c.933G>A (p.Thr311=) synonymous splice variant induces exon 7 skipping and leads to an atypical presentation of NMIHBA syndrome”. Kudos!

Aug. 9, 2021 ­- Congratulations to postdoctoral scientist Dr. Maimuna Paul for being selected to give a platform presentation at the 2021 American Society for Human Genetics annual meeting! This is a wonderful recognition of the importance of her collaborative study with Drs. Anna Duncan and Pankaj Agrawal at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital for the ASHG community. Maimuna will be presenting our discovery genetics study “Extremely rare variants in EIF4A2 are associated with a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by hypotonia, intellectual disability, and epilepsy”. Kudos!

July 23, 2021 ­- We are humbled and very grateful for the support of the EBF3 HADDS Foundation to advance our translational research efforts for EBF3-related conditions. The Foundation gifted a generous donation of $25,000 to support the laboratory’s efforts to further investigate and understand the effects of the EBF3 gene in individuals living with HADDS. The contribution was made possible by over 500 donors from over 15 countries in the growing global HADDS community. Thank you to the families and friends of the EBF3 HADDS Foundation! 

July 21, 2021 ­- Congratulations to John Hayes for preparing to start his Master’s program at Texas A&M in Engineering! We look forward to his continued success!   

July 13, 2021 - We are thrilled to that the award interview for "Meet Cole Deisseroth - 2021 Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Summer Research Scholarship Receipient" by the Child Neurology Foundation is available on YouTube. Congratulations Cole!

May 26, 2021 ­- Congratulations to Cole Deisseroth for receiving the Child Neurology Foundation’s 2021 Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Summer Research Scholarship! Every year, the Child Neurology Foundation awards a $3,500 scholarship to support a medical student’s  clinical research in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities in children, conducted under the direction of a child neurology/NDD subspecialist, during summer break. Cole is a first-year medical student in the BCM MSTP studying Early B-Cell Factor 3 (EBF3)-related Hypotonia, Ataxia, and Delayed Development Syndrome (HADDS) to elucidate the genotype-phenotype spectrum and correlate developmental delays with variant type and location.

May 24, 2021 ­- We are thrilled to receive the 2021 Mark A. Wallace Endowment Award for our collaborative study “Molecular and Neural Circuit Mechanisms in Autism and Neuropsychiatric Disorders”. This study is led by Dr. Chao (PI), Drs. Robin Kochel and Avner Meoded (co-PI’s), and Vanesa Lerma, M.A.

May 18, 2021 ­- PREP Scholar Harim Delgado-Seo presented her research study “Investigation the behavioral hallmarks of teneurin dysfunction in flies and mice” at the 2021 PREP Scholar Research Symposium. Congratulations Harim on a beautiful talk and stellar discoveries! The BCM PREP Scholars program supports underrepresented college graduates to prepare for biomedical PhD studies.

May 3, 2021 ­- Post-doctoral researcher Dr. Maimuna Paul presented her research discoveries on the role of liprin-alpha proteins in neurodevelopmental disorders at the NRI Seminar Series. Congratulations Maimuna on a beautiful talk and exciting discoveries!

April 30, 2021 - We are happy to welcome MSTP, Genetics&Genomics, and McNair MSTP Scholar Christina Magyar to our research team. 

April 17-22, 2021 - Kudos to Cole for a stellar poster presentation on his study “Integrated deep phenotypic and mutational approach defines EBF3-related HADD syndrome genotype-phenotype relationships” at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting.

April 20, 2021 ­- Wonderful poster presentations from Dr. Maimuna Paul, Harim-Delgado-Seo, Cole Deisseroth, and John Hayes for their research studies in the neurogenetic and circuit basis of neurodevelopmental disorders using human, fruit fly, and mouse model studies at the 2021 Department of Pediatrics Annual Research Symposium.

April 5, 2021 ­- MSTP student Cole Deisseroth presented his research discoveries on genotype-phenotype relationships, diagnostics, and prognostics in EBF3-related HADDS and 10q26-deletion syndrome at the NRI Seminar Series. Congratulations Cole on a beautiful talk and exciting discoveries!

March 4, 2021 ­- We are so excited to celebrate PREP Scholar Harim Delgado-Seo’s acceptance to the BCM Neuroscience Graduate Program! Kudos to an amazing neuroscientist!

Feb. 28, 2021 - Chao Lab celebrates Rare Disease Day to raise awareness about rare diseases and their impact on individuals and their families. Dr. Chao spoke about the impact of the Undiagnosed Odyssey and Rare Disorders at the 2021 Texas Rare Diseases Day Symposium.

Feb. 4, 2021 - MSTP Student Cole Deisseroth is selected to be part of the scientific program at the American Academy of Neurology Virtual Annual Meeting (April 17-22, 2021). He will be presenting his paper entitled “Integrated deep phenotypic and mutational approach defines EBF3-related HADD syndrome genotype-phenotype relationships” as a poster presentation at the top neurology meeting. Congratulations Cole!

Feb. 1, 2021 - Chao Lab joins the HADDS Foundation and community to celebrate HADDS Awareness month. We are honored to be a part of the research and advocacy efforts.

2020

Dec. 21, 2020 - Congratulations to Child Neurology Basic Neuroscience pathway resident, Daniel Calame! Our paper identifying that Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 2 Alpha Kinase 2 (EIF2AK2) gene variants cause symptoms akin to Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease is published in Neurology Genetics. Hypomyelinating leukodystrophies (HLD) are a group of rare genetic disorders characterized by degeneration of the brain’s white matter due to inadequate development of the myelin sheath, the fatty insulator that surrounds nerve fibers. An archetype of these disorders is the Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), which is caused by mutations in the Proteolipid protein 1 (PLP1) gene. This is the most common type of HLD and manifests in infancy or early childhood. A comprehensive analysis reveals that EIF2AK2 variants can lead to clinical phenotypes mimicking PMD. View paper.

Dec. 9, 2020 - Sahana’s beautiful images illustrating the complexity of the mouse cortex and hippocampus was selected to be part of the cover art for the 2021 BCM Department of Pediatrics Research Symposium.

Nov. 9, 2020 - PREP Scholar Harim Delgado-Seo presented her research discoveries on teneurins in neurodevelopment at the 2020 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Congratulations Harim!

Aug. 13, 2020 - Abled, Same But Different, a book 16 years in the making, hit the virtual Amazon shelves in August, on a mission to educate the world about HADDS. Abled was written by Cathleen Morita, from Hawaii, and mother to one of the first individuals diagnosed with HADDS.

July 1, 2020 - Welcome John Hayes to the lab as research technician. We are excited to work with John to continue growing the research studies!

June 29, 2020 - Pediatric neurologist and investigator, Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao receives the prestigious 2020 Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award from the Child Neurology Society for her important contributions to neuroscience research and rare diseases. She will present the Dodge lecture at the CNS-ICNA Conjoint meeting in October 2020. View press release.

April 15, 2020 – Congratulations to Darrion for accepting the offer to join BCM's prestigious Neuroscience PhD program.

March 20, 2020 - Drs. Dongxue Mao, Hugo Bellen, and Hsiao-Tuan Chao at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in collaboration with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network identified gene variants in the EIF2AK family of kinases leads to previously unidentified neurodevelopmental disorders - in which inappropriate response to stress (such as fever triggered by viral infections) triggers degeneration of the nerve fibers connecting major brain regions, collectively known as the white matter. This is the first study to demonstrate that variants in EIF2AK1 and EIF2AK2 result in neurologic disorders characterized by delayed development, white matter alterations, and neurologic regression. The study appears in the American Journal of Human Genetics. View press release.

2019

July 25-27, 2019 – First Annual Hypotonia, Ataxia, and Delayed Development Syndrome Family Conference held at The Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Keynote lectures by Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao and Dr. Michael Wangler. 

April 9, 2019 – Awarded the 2019 Best Basic Science Poster prize for his abstract entitled “Elucidating the pathogenic role of EBF3 in HADD syndrome” from the BCM Department of Pediatrics Annual Research Symposium. Congratulations Darrion!

May 23, 2019 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao was honored with the 2019 Health Care Heroes Rising Star Award by the Houston Business Journal. She was one of four physicians to receive this recognition for her dedication to her patients, trainees, and her research discoveries in the field of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. View article.

March 15, 2019 - Research trainee alumni and HHMI Medical Research Fellow, Dr. Hudin Jackson, matched to BCM's prestigious Neurological Surgery Residency! Congratulations Hudin! 

March 13, 2019 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao named new McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine. She is the College’s first McNair M.D./Ph.D. Scholar Alumni to also be named a McNair Scholar. The McNair Scholar program, supported by The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and managed by the McNair Medical Institute, identifies and recruits influential researchers in neuroscience, cancer and juvenile diabetes. Similarly, the McNair M.D./Ph.D. Scholars program trains highly motivated M.D./Ph.D. students as physician-scientists who split their time between conducting biomedical research while still caring for patients. View article.

March 11, 2019 – Nathan Bliss was one of four awardees nationwide to receive the competitive 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Grant by the Autism Science Foundation for his project to elucidate the role of teneurins in neurodevelopmental disorders. View article.

2018

Dec. 19, 2018 – Dr. Maureen Handoko, Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao, and a team of physicians and researchers at the BCM Undiagnosed Diseases Network site identified the fourth known case of recurrent mosaic MTOR c.5930C>T (p.Thr1977Ile) variant to cause megalencephaly, asymmetric polymicrogyria, and cutaneous pigmentary mosaicism with intellectual disability. Their finding demonstrates the tissue variability in the mosaic expression of the recurrent p.Thr1977Ile MTOR variant and expands the clinical phenotype. The study appears in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A.

Oct. 2, 2018 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao awarded the 2018 National Institutes of Health Director’s High-Risk High-Reward DP5 Early Independence Award. This honor recognizes creative scientists who are working on highly innovative research to address major challenges in biomedical research. She is one of 11 researchers from across the country to be recognized in this award category. At BCM, she is the second recipient and the first physician-scientist to be awarded this honor since the inception of the award in 2011. The Early Independence Award will provide $1.25 million over 5 years to support her work on how single gene changes that alter transcriptional networks can affect communication between neurons. View article.

July 3, 2018 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao awarded the Child Neurology Society and Foundation’s 2018 Elterman Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation grant. The $100,000 grant will be awarded over two years to support Dr. Chao’s research into unraveling the genetic and circuit mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability, autism, and epilepsy. View article.

June 12, 2018 – Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao receives the prestigious 2018 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. This highly competitive Career Award for Medical Scientists provides $700,000 of research funding spread over five years to physician-scientists embarking on independent academic careers. View article.

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