Nicholas Lesner, a graduate student in Dr. Prashant Mishra’s lab, was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These grants, which provide over $100,000 in funding over a three-year period, are given to promising predoctoral students who have the potential to develop into productive, independent research scientists.
“I am honored to receive this award from the NIH. This funding will provide me with an excellent opportunity to continue and expand on my past research in mitochondrial disease metabolism. The NRSA will also help me on my path to becoming an independent investigator and running my own lab in the future,” said Nicholas.
As part of the Mishra lab, Nicholas is studying how cells adapt their metabolism in response to mutations in mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial diseases are a varied class of metabolic disorders that affect 1 in every 5,000 people. How these diseases present varies greatly, making diagnosis and prognosis difficult. Even with proper identification, there are currently no effective treatments for this class of diseases. Nicholas is working to better understand how different metabolic adaptations can influence disease outcomes in order to develop new clinical tools and therapeutic options.
“Nick has been a huge asset to our research; his creativity and dedicated work in understanding the metabolic consequences of mitochondrial DNA mutations make him well deserving of this award. His scientific engagement is exemplary of the CRI’s mission to attack and solve big problems in genetics and metabolism,” said Dr. Mishra.