SakkuBai Naidu, M.D.'s picture
Department of Neurogenetics
Phone: 443-923-2778
Kennedy Krieger Institute

707 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States


Dr. SakkuBai Naidu is a research scientist in the Department of Neurogenetics at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is also a Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Dr. Naidu received her undergraduate and medical training at Madras Medical College in India. She served internships and residencies in Pediatrics at hospitals in Madras and in Brooklyn before accepting a fellowship in Pediatric Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. She worked in hospitals in Chicago at the University of Illinois and Loyola University in Maywood, IL. In 1983, she trained in Neonatal EEG/Neurology at Port Royal Hospital in Paris. She came to Hopkins in 1984 as a Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Scholar. Dr. Naidu works as a Pediatric Neurologist at Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI), where she directs KKI's Rett syndrome research.

Dr. Naidu is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society, American Neurological Association, International Child Neurology Society, Neurological Society of India and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Rett syndrome (RTT), a neurodevelopmental disorder predominantly affecting females, is characterized by a period of apparent normal development followed by loss of developmental skills, primarily expressive language and purposeful hand use. It is associated with stereotyped hand movements, gait disturbance, seizures, irregular respiration, and deceleration of head growth. The genetic defect causing the disorder was mapped to chromosome Xq28 and identified to be secondary to mutations in the MECP2 gene.

Dr. Naidu is a trained pediatrician and neurologist with special interest in developmental and neurogenetic disorders affecting children and adults. Combining careful clinical analysis with technological advances in neuroimaging, genetics and neuroscience, Dr. Naidu is able to accurately characterize neurogenetic disorders. Her activities are at the interface between clinical neurology and basic sciences. Work involving this interface provides a unique opportunity to understand the developing brain, the biological basis of disease and to develop new strategies for prevention and therapy.

Dr. Naidu and colleagues, in addition to having extensively studied the pathogenesis of RTT, proposed a chemical explanation for why older girls with the disorder have fewer seizures, and experience less psychomotor regression than those who are younger. In her work with other neurodegenerative disorders, particularly those associated with abnormalities of the white matter of the brain, Dr. Naidu and colleagues have tested criteria for in vivo MR imaging diagnosis of diseases, usually eliminating the need for a brain biopsy to obtain a definitive diagnosis. She has also demonstrated a novel MRI manifestation of adult Krabbé disease. Dr. Naidu works with unclassified leukoencephalopathies, and has identified newer categories of disorders in which genetic studies use whole exome sequencing.

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Research Publications

Srivastava S, Desai S, Cohen J, Smith-Hicks C, Barañano K, Fatemi A, Naidu S (2018). Monogenic disorders that mimic the phenotype of Rett syndrome. Neurogenetics. 19(1), 41-47. 

Jenkinson EM, Rodero MP, Kasher PR, Uggenti C, Oojageer A, Goosey LC, Rose Y, Kershaw CJ, Urquhart JE, Williams SG, Bhaskar SS, O'Sullivan J, Baerlocher GM, Haubitz M, Aubert G, Barañano KW, Barnicoat AJ, Battini R, Berger A, Blair EM, Brunstrom-Hernandez JE, Buckard JA, Cassiman DM, Caumes R, Cordelli DM, De Waele LM, Fay AJ, Ferreira P, Fletcher NA, Fryer AE, Goel H, Hemingway CA, Henneke M, Hughes I, Jefferson RJ, Kumar R, Lagae L, Landrieu PG, Lourenço CM, Malpas TJ, Mehta SG, Metz I, Naidu S, Õunap K, Panzer A, Prabhakar P, Quaghebeur G, Schiffmann R, Sherr EH, Sinnathuray KR, Soh C, Stewart HS, Stone J, Van Esch H, Van Mol CE, Vanderver A, Wakeling EL, Whitney A, Pavitt GD, Griffiths-Jones S, Rice GI, Revy P, van der Knaap MS, Livingston JH, O'Keefe RT, Crow YJ (2016). Mutations in SNORD118 cause the cerebral microangiopathy leukoencephalopathy with calcifications and cysts. Nat Genet. 48(10), 1185-92. 

Kevelam SH, Steenweg ME, Srivastava S, Helman G, Naidu S, Schiffmann R, Blaser S, Vanderver A, Wolf NI, van der Knaap MS (2016). Update on Leukodystrophies: A Historical Perspective and Adapted Definition. Neuropediatrics. , . 

Pidcock FS, Salorio C, Bibat G, Swain J, Scheller J, Shore W, Naidu S (2016). Functional outcomes in Rett syndrome. Brain Dev. 38(1), 76-81.