Dr. Sameer Sheth Announced as Director of The Gordon and Mary Cain Pediatric Neurology Research Foundation Laboratories at Texas Children’s Hospital
Dr. Sameer Sheth, Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, has been named the new Director of the Gordon and Mary Cain Pediatric Neurology Research Foundation Laboratories within the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (Duncan NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital. The Cain Foundation Laboratories seek to identify the underlying causes for devastating childhood epilepsies and to develop groundbreaking new treatments.
“It’s a tremendous honor to accept this important role,” said Sheth. “The Cain Foundation Laboratories were founded over 30 years ago in recognition of the terrible suffering that childhood epilepsies inflict on patients and their families. Over the past three decades, they’ve made significant progress. I am greatly honored to take up that mantle. My goal is to expand the lab’s vision to include systems-level neuroscience and neuromodulation approaches so that we aspire not only to cure those childhood epilepsies that are curable, but also to treat several of the cognitive, emotional and psychiatric comorbidities from which these patients suffer.”
“I am so grateful to Texas Children’s Board members, Gary L. Rosenthal and Anthony DeLuca, for their visionary leadership of the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation and for their steadfast support of the Duncan NRI,” said Mark A. Wallace, President and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital. “I know that under Dr. Sheth’s leadership, the expert team of researchers at the Cain Laboratories will continue to make groundbreaking advances that will improve the health and well-being of children around the world.”
The Foundation has a longstanding philanthropic partnership with Texas Children’s. Founded by senior executives of the Houston-based companies that were created by the late Gordon Cain — and his private equity firm The Sterling Group — the Cain Foundation has supported Texas Children’s by funding research, teaching, treatment and related activities at the Cain labs since 1988. Rosenthal, its immediate past chairman, was succeeded by DeLuca in 2022.
The Duncan NRI is a premier neurological research institution at Texas Children’s and a destination for families seeking answers for rare and undiagnosed neurological conditions, as well as more common neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Leadership at the Duncan NRI and Texas Children’s Hospital conducted an extensive, two-year search for this critical position, and the entire team is pleased to welcome Sheth. “I look forward to working with the incredible Cain Laboratory investigators, as well as the other renowned investigators at the Duncan NRI, especially its Director, Dr. Huda Zoghbi,” said Sheth.
“I am thrilled that Dr. Sheth, a brilliant physician-scientist, proven innovator, and generous collaborator, has agreed to become the new director of the Cain Foundation Laboratories,” said Zoghbi. “Dr. Sheth will lead the Cain Foundation Laboratories forward, expanding on the groundbreaking discoveries to date to identify effective treatments for these devastating disorders. “
Sheth succeeds Dr. John Swann as the Director of the Cain Foundation Laboratories and brings with him 17 years of experience as a neuroscientist and adult neurosurgeon specializing in the treatment of patients with epilepsy, psychiatric disorders and movement disorders. He completed his training at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA — where he received both his MD and PhD degrees — and his residency and fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
A native Houstonian, Sheth returned to Texas in 2018 when he was recruited by Baylor College of Medicine, where he is currently Professor of Neurosurgery, Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair and McNair Scholar. He founded and directed the Functional and Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, which focuses on the study of human decision-making, behavior and cognitive processes, and his groundbreaking research has been continuously funded by numerous grants from the NIH for more than 12 years.
Before entering the field of medicine, Sheth earned an undergraduate degree in physics, astronomy and astrophysics at Harvard University — training in complex systems that still informs his thinking. His research is
aimed at understanding how the brain works — at the level of individual neurons and circuits — in order to find better treatments to repair it and provide relief for patients.
Since the Cain Foundation Laboratories began research in 1992, faculty and staff have pursued a similar goal: understanding the basic mechanisms that underlie persistent seizures and learning disabilities in children with intractable epilepsy. The annual cost burden of epilepsy is estimated to range from $9.6 to $12.5 billion, a significant percentage of which is associated with pediatric catastrophic epilepsies since they arise early in life and often result in life-long disabilities. Scientists in the Cain Foundation Laboratories, therefore, seek to combine preclinical and clinical research to uncover novel therapeutic targets. “It’s vitally important work,” said Sheth. “I hope to expand the vision, recruit more faculty and contribute to the work that’s already been done — to continue making this lab a world leader in pediatric epilepsy research.”