Dr. Rodney Samaco is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital. His research program seeks to identify and understand the key neuroanatomical and molecular determinants of behavior using genetic mouse and rat models of syndromic neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). Through the use of genetically engineered mouse and rat models combined with neurobehavioral measurements, in vivo neurophysiological recordings and high-throughput molecular and biochemical approaches, Dr. Samaco’s group studies the spatial and temporal requirement of genes either causative or implicated in the features associated with disorders of the brain. They aim to forge definitive links between genetic perturbations and alterations at the cellular, molecular and neural network levels that are responsible for behavioral impairments.
Furthermore, he is an advocate for “team-science”, serving the NDD and broader scientific community through several positions that allow him to engage in large-scale NIH-funded endeavors. He is the Associate Director of the BCM Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), Director of the BCM IDDRC and Texas Children’s Hospital Neurobehavioral Core Facilities, and leads the behavioral phenotyping component of BCM’s Knock Out Mouse Project which is part of the larger goal of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium to create and characterize a null allele of every protein-coding gene of the mouse. Through these endeavors he is actively engaged in fostering collaborations with academic, non-profit and industry partners to conduct large-scale behavioral evaluations and preclinical studies using rodent models.