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Welcoming New-CAMB-ers: A Faculty Profile on Matthew Good, Ph.D

August 23, 2016

Matthew Good, Ph.D., is a recently appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell and Development Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine with a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Bioengineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition to being part of the CAMB graduate group, Dr. Good and his lab are members of the Bioengineering graduate group and the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute (PMI).

 

Dr. Good completed his Ph.D at the University of California, San Francisco as a member of Dr. Wendell Lim’s lab. There, Dr. Good utilized in vitro reconstitution of MAPK signaling to study how information is faithfully transmitted through intracellular kinases networks that share many components. His work uncovered a new role for scaffold proteins as critical ‘hubs’ for dictating the flow of signaling information. Furthermore, he was inspired to pursue techniques that move beyond a test tube and mirror the spatial and boundary conditions of a cell.

 

For his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Good worked with Drs. Daniel Fletcher and Rebecca Heald to pursue his fascination with the plasticity of subcellular structure size. Dr. Good combined the approaches of his co-advisors:  in vitro reconstitution of the mitotic spindle from Xenopus egg extracts (Heald Lab), but in cell-like compartments to modulate physical constraints (Fletcher Lab). In Dr. Good’s own words, he wanted to “marry cytoplasmic extracts with microfluidic encapsulation to test the hypothesis that cell size and shape directly regulate the assembly, scaling, and function of subcellular structures.” He found that cytoplasmic volume, as opposed to a hard-wired developmental program, regulates spindle size during embryogenesis.

 

Currently, the Good Lab continues to focus on the role of cell size (volume) and shape (geometry) as master regulators of cell function utilizing Xenopus egg extracts and synthetic cells. The lab also uses in vitro fertilization of Xenopus eggs to study how the rapid reduction of cell size during early embryogenesis regulates the size of organelles and other subcellular structures. When asked what excites him about his research, Dr. Good responded, “I love exploring new areas of science and creating a fuller or more detailed description of nature… I am thrilled … to be working in an era in which researchers are able to engineer new molecular and cellular functions….we can now…tease apart cause and effect.”

 

UPenn welcomed Dr. Good in January 2015 and when asked about the biggest differences between being a faculty member, postdoc, and graduate student, Dr. Good replied, “Time and freedom. Much less time, much more freedom and manpower to explore ideas. Honestly, though, I still feel like a graduate student in professors’ clothing.” However, between his candor and success both in and outside of the laboratory (a full list of awards can be found on the Good Lab’s website), Dr. Good is an inspiring role model and keen advisor for current graduate students. For students who are unsure of staying in science, Dr. Good astutely observes that “problems in science are solved on a timescale of months to years. This…is not a great fit for everyone.”

 

For students who are looking to continue in science and are looking for postdoc labs, Dr. Good advises, “Be ambitious – stretch yourself and do not look for a position that is comfortable. Bring a unique skill to a postdoc lab so you can address an outstanding question in a new way.  Pick an up-and-coming mentor so that you can be part of their scientific growth process.  Make sure the lab is a place where you will want to come to work everyday. Push yourself, be fearless.”

 

For more information on Dr. Good and his lab, please visit his lab’s website here. For inquiries into potential rotations, please contact Dr. Good directly (mattgood@upenn.edu).

 

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