Deborah J. Good 

Debroah GoodPresent Position

Associate Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Sigma Xi Chapter; Member of Sigma Xi since 1989 

Chapter Affiliation

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)


See below for biographical information.


While I’ve run an active research program, am a successful teacher, and valued colleague in my department and university, I feel that one of my greatest achievements has been in developing and finding funding for programs to support students in undergraduate research programs, both during the summer and during the academic year. I have a personal passion in this area, as I was one of those students who had the opportunity to do undergraduate research and it changed my life. This was also one of the first times that I received recognition for my research, with a Sigma Xi chapter award from the State University of New York, College at Fredonia. I joined Sigma Xi after winning a Sigma Xi award as a graduate student, and I’ve never left the organization. My goals as the Mid-Atlantic Area Associate director are to increase Sigma Xi active members through recruiting and retaining young/junior scientists. In addition, I am active in organizing the local March for Science satellite march in Blacksburg, as well as a science outreach project, “Science on Tap”. Both of these types of activities are important for organizations like Sigma Xi to be involved with, as they help to communicate science findings, and personalize scientists to the public. As the associate director, I would work to help chapters develop programming that would convey science and scientific research as a foundation of human progress and innovation.

Sigma Xi and other activities: I was first introduced to Sigma Xi as an undergraduate researcher at SUNY Fredonia. I received an award for my research on the evolution of the thrombospondin protein, and this was really the first recognition of my ability to “do science”. In 1989 I was elected to associate membership as a graduate student. While there was not a chapter at the NIH where I did my postdoctoral work, I continued my membership with the Northwestern chapter, until I joined the University of Massachusetts-Amherst chapter in 1997. However, it really was not until I came to Virginia Tech that I became active in a chapter. At Virginia Tech I was elected first as a nominator, and then as Treasurer of the chapter. I remained chapter Treasurer from 2008-2017, when I was elected as the president elect. I am now president of our Virginia Tech chapter. To date, I have worked to secure research awards for undergraduates and graduate students ($1,000 each) from our Office of Research, and through these awards, we support new members in our society. As the Associate Director, mid-Atlantic region one of my main goals would be to help chapters develop and support initiatives that recruit student/junior scientists. In addition, I worked with a local grass roots organization to hold a local March for Science in Blacksburg, as one of the recognized satellite marches. We’ve done this again this past April and plan to continue to rally for science funding and scientist’s recognition by organizing a satellite March. This year, I wrote for a Distinguished Lectureship award, and our chapter received one. We will be bringing the speaker to the Virginia Tech campus both for a science talk, and for one of our community talks “Science on Tap”.  Sigma Xi, Virginia Tech chapter supports this local outreach effort, organized by Katie Burke (American Scientists, Sigma Xi) and the Center for Communicating Science, because we feel that bringing our science to the community is the best way to insure public (i.e. funding) support at a national level.  As Associate director, I would work to help mid-Atlantic chapters develop outreach projects to communicate science to the public and help to maintain public/citizen interest and excitement in scientific research.

Biographical Information: I obtained my Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Northwestern University in 1992. While at Northwestern, I studied tumor suppressor gene control of angiogenesis and was awarded a patent for my work identifying a naturally-occurring inhibitor of angiogenesis, thrombospondin. I also was awarded a Sigma Xi student research award for my dissertation research. I went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, in the National Cancer Institute where I characterized developed three different knockout mouse models and characterized the role of two basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors in the developing nervous system. In 1997, I accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and was awarded tenure in 2003. While at UMass-Amherst I developed a strong research program with several NIH grants and over $1 million in federal funding. In August 2006, I moved my laboratory to the Department of Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise (HNFE) at Virginia Tech. I was a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research from August through December 2012. I have secured over $3.2 million in awards to support my research and have published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on the genetics of body weight regulation. I have also authored papers on teaching pedagogy and completed two certifications for technology-enhanced online learning. I am currently a coPI on an HHMI grant ($1M) to promote inclusive excellence at Virginia Tech.  To do this, faculty teams from STEM Departments are being trained in inclusive pedagogy, and developing inclusive curriculum, including experiential learning activities.