An RNA researcher finds in flavonoids potential therapies for Myotonic Dystrophy

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 28, 2021) — Post doctoral fellow Subodh Mishra has been awarded a fellowship from the Myotonic Dystrophy (DM) Foundation UK to support his RNA Institute study into how flavonoids, a natural dietary supplement, can be used as a therapeutic to combat DM.

An array of fruits and vegetables that contain flavonoids, which RNA researcher Subodh Mishra is exploring to provide therapies for myotonic dystrophy.

The study by Mishra, who works in the laboratory of RNA Institute Director Andy Berglund, is titled “Discovery of dietary natural compounds as potential therapeutics for DM.” He has already identified a number of promising candidates among the flavonoids and will use the new fellowship to characterize these compounds and determine their therapeutic potential in a number of DM model systems.

“I am thankful to receive this award,” said Mishra. “Finding a natural dietary supplement as a therapeutic could change the life of DM patients by reversing the molecular hallmark of DM.”

He noted that flavonoid compounds are naturally found in various edible plants resources. They form part of our regular diet and are well tolerated even in high doses.

The Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation supports scientific investigations to enhance the quality of life of people living with DM — a multi-systemic inherited disease that affects more than 150,000 individuals in the United States alone — and to advance research focused on finding treatments and a cure. Since 2009, the foundation has provided 2-year pre- and postdoctoral research fellowships to support new and innovative studies relevant to DM.

RNA researcher Subodh Mishra head shot, turned to us
Subodh Mishra, postdoctoral researcher with the RNA Institute.

“It is wonderful that MDF continues to support the institute’s research efforts by selecting Dr. Mishra to receive one of their prestigious fellowships,” said Berglund, whose lab’s main focus is on understanding DM’s mechanism and developing therapeutic strategies to deal with the disease. “Such support has helped to launch the careers of early stage investigators in the myotonic dystrophy field.”

Mishra completed his PhD from the Department of Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, India, and joined Berglund’s lab at the RNA Institute in the spring of 2019. He is co-mentored by Kaalak Reddy and collaborative staff scientist John Cleary, both former MDF Fellows and, with Bergund, part of the Institute’s DM research team.

“We’re extremely proud to have Subodh working with us at the RNA Institute and helping to build the New York Myotonic Dystrophy Center,” said Cleary. Reddy noted, "The MDF was instrumental in supporting my own research and career development, so it's great to be involved with Dr. Mishra's MDF-supported research today and to be helping to train the next generation of MDF Fellows.”