Two Baylor researchers receive prestigious honors from Child Neurology Society

Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao received the 2017 Outstanding Junior Member Award from the Child Neurology Society for her discovery of the genetic cause of a neurodevelopmental condition known as the Hypotonia Ataxia and Developmental Disorder Syndrome.

Chao is the clinical instructor in pediatric neurology at Baylor College of Medicine and physician-scientist at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s in the laboratory of Dr. Hugo J. Bellen.

Through large-scale collaborative efforts with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) and Baylor Genetics Laboratory (BGL), Chao’s research studies revealed the pathogenic role of damaging genetic changes in Early B-Cell Factor 3 (EBF3) in neurodevelopment and cognition. Her research continues to focus on elucidating the role of EBF3 dysfunction and transcriptional dysregulation of neural circuits in highly prevalent childhood disorders such as intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Davut Pehlivan, a medical resident in pediatric neurology and physician-scientist at Baylor College of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. James Lupski, is the recipient of the 2017 M. Richard KoenigsBerger Scholarship Award from the Child Neurology Society for his studies related to arthrogryposis patients.

Pehlivan analyzed 108 arthrogryposis families using whole exam sequencing approach as part of Baylor-Hopkins Center for Mendelian Genomics initiative. His studies made important contributions to understanding the disease pathogenesis by showing evidence for oligogenic inheritance in arthrogryposis and yielded several novel genes causing arthrogryposis.

The Child Neurology Society established this scholarship award in 2013 to honor the memory of . The awardee is selected between CNS Junior Members/residents submitting the best abstract in the areas of neonatal neurology, genetic diseases, HIV or metabolic disorders.