Esteemed DM Researcher Joins MDF Board of Directors & Chairs MDF's Scientific Advisory Committee

Published on Tue, 11/28/2023

MDF is excited to welcome Dr. Andy Berglund as the new Chair of MDF’s Scientific Advisory Committee and newest addition to the MDF Board of Directors! Dr. Berglund’s extensive research background and knowledge of myotonic dystrophy will help move MDF’s mission forward.

Dr. Berglund started studying biochemistry in the 1990s and was intrigued by the role that RNA structures play in biology. His research has encompassed RNA structures, functions, and the mechanisms of splicing. In 2002, his first graduate student greatly impacted the trajectory of his career when he acquainted Dr. Berglund with myotonic dystrophy, the impact it has on affected families, and the many unknowns surrounding its functions. After many conversations, Dr. Berglund felt compelled to apply his skillset and delve deeper into the obscurities underlying myotonic dystrophy.

Under his leadership, his research group solved the first atomic resolution structure of the CUG repeats that cause myotonic dystrophy. In 2015, Dr. Berglund was one of the first MDF Research Grant Recipients for his project, “Inhibiting transcription of CUG/CCUG expanded repeats with small molecules”. In 2021 he joined MDF's Scientific Advisory Committee. Today, Dr. Berglund serves as the Director of the RNA Institute and an Empire Professor of Innovation in the Biological Sciences at the University at Albany.

Dr. Berglund’s research team continues to use a multi-faceted approach to better understand the mechanisms of DM with the hope of building “the necessary foundation of basic understanding that can be used to develop therapeutic strategies for myotonic dystrophy.” He is optimistic that their ongoing research will help to uncover innovative strategies to “reduce or correct the improper pre-mRNA splicing that occurs in the disease state.” Notably, they have recently demonstrated the potential of small molecules in rescuing mis-splicing in cell and mouse models of the disease.

We are excited to announce Dr. Berglund as the new Chair of MDF’s Scientific Advisory Committee and latest member of our Board of Directors. When asked what he looked forward to most in this role, he shared, “It is such a hopeful time, I am excited to be a part of the shared momentum and collaboration of DM community members and researchers.”

For more information on Dr. Berglund, click here to visit his lab website.