Matthew D. Disney

Matthew D. Disney is affiliated with the Scripps Research Institute.[1]He is a member of Department of Chemistry.[1]

He earned his B.S. at the University of Maryland and both his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.[2]Dr. Disney is a full professor in the bi-coastal Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute with laboratories on the Florida campus of TSRI.[2]His group has developed broad approaches to the directed use of RNA genome sequence to inform the development of lead small-molecule medicines for multiple conditions with unprecedented potency and selectivity.[3]His research has now been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.[4]His research focuses on RNA-based drug discovery.[5]His work has also garnered many awards, including the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award, the James Watson Investigator Award and others.[6]

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Scripps Research Institute


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Recent events

Undruggable diseases gain a new RNA drug-discovery tool

Imagine trying to throw a bullseye when the dartboard lies buried within a crumpled box. That's the challenge faced by scientists working to make new medicines for some 'undruggable' diseases, including a type of metastatic breast cancer. The new RNA drug-discovery tool, described in Monday's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses these and other challenges to enable both the rapid discovery and optimization of RNA-targeting compounds, says Chemist Matthew Disney, Ph.D., of Scripps Research, Florida.[9]


Event Date

What is COVID-19's 'Clutch'?

Co-lead researcher Matthew Disney says the RNA-binding compounds actively break the clutch of the virus and could curb the spread of the virus. “Our concept was to develop lead medicines capable of breaking COVID-19's clutch,” says Disney, a chemist at the Scripps Research Institute. Disney asserts that while the findings are promising, there’s still plenty of work and research to be done before the RNA-targeting compounds can be approved as a treatment for COVID-19. Targeting “druggable elements in RNA”[11]


Event Date

Breaking COVID-19's 'clutch' to stop its spread

Matthew Disney, PhD, of Scripps Research in Jupiter, Florida, has spent over a decade developing tools to make RNA a druggable target for curing diseases. His lab's latest target is COVID-19, which is caused by a RNA virus. "This is a proof-of-concept study," Disney says. Using a database of RNA-binding chemical entities developed by Disney, they found 26 candidate compounds.[10]


Event Date


  1. 2
    Chemistry Department to Host Lectures by Scripps Research Institute Professor Dr. Matthew Disney2019-03-30
  2. 3
    Scripps Research Chemist Matthew D. Disney Awarded the Sackler Prize2019-02-01
  3. 6
    'Suds & Science' a community outreach with purpose2018-06-28