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Deborah J. Good, PhD

Associate Professor
  • Focus area(s): Molecular regulation of body weight, exercise, fertility, and puberty; prader-willi syndrome; phylogenetic analysis; nutraceutical functional foods; Pedagogy research
A Virginia Tech HNFE faculty member stands outside against a Hokie Stone building for a photo.
1020 ILSB
  • Graduate Program Track(s): Molecular & Cellular Science


Sabbatical, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany, 2012. Host: Dr. Thomas Braun

Postdoctoral Scholar, Molecular Neuroendocrinology, National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1993-1997. Mentor: Dr. Ilan Kirsch

Ph.D., Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, Northwestern University, 1992. Thesis: “Tumor Suppressor Gene Control of an Inhibitor of Angiogenesis”. Advisor: Dr. Noel P. Bouck

B.S., Biomedical Research, State University of New York, College at Fredonia, 1987


Dec 2019 – present: Faculty of Health Sciences, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Insititute

August 2006 – present: Associate Professor, Obesity Research Cluster, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech

January 2019 – December 2020: Associate Department Head, Diversity and Inclusion

August 2011 – August 2020: Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Tech

April 2003 – August 2006: Associate Professor, Vertebrate Molecular Genetics, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

September 1997 – April 2003: Assistant Professor, Vertebrate Molecular Genetics, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

February 1998 – August 1997: Postdoctoral Fellow, Acquired Gene Rearrangement Laboratory, National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health


  • School of Neuroscience
  • Fralin Life Sciences Institute
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  •  CEO, Good Foods Group, LLC
  • Director-Mid-Atlantic Region, Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society

Selected Major Awards

  • 2021 – CETL "Thank a Teacher" Recognition
  • 2019 – HHMI Inclusive Excellence Fellow, Virginia Tech
  • 2019 – Distinguished Alumni Award, SUNY-Fredonioa
  • 2018 – Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award
  • 2010 – College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Basic Research Award

In collaboration with Dr. Young Ju (HNFE) and Melissa Wright, Director of the Food Producer Technical Assistance Network, we seek to improve labeling of our conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)-based functional food products with accurate information derived from the biological findings and will produce a series of 1-3 extension publications that communicate information about CLA nutraceuticals and CLA usage to our community and industry stakeholders. 

My translational research laboratory is interested in identifying basic biological pathways and nutraceutical compounds that can be used to understand and treat genetic disease. We focus on adult onset obesity in general, as well trying to understand the molecular cause of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a genetic condition affecting one in 10,000 live births.  To this end, we have discovered that the nutraceutical, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can treat obesity and fertility in two different mouse models of PWS. This work has led to two US patents and one international patent, and the formation of a Limited Liability Corporation “Good Foods Group, LLC”, which seeks to develop functional foods that can treat and prevent weight gain in individuals with genetic obesity. 

Two mice stand next to one another with the text "WT" written under the mouse on the left and the text "N2KO" written under the mouse on the right.

With Drs. Samantha Harden and Angela Anderson, I have developed and run four summer undergraduate research programs -USDA Scholars, HNFE Scholars, TOUR Scholars, and IE Scholars, and have developed three different Course-based research experiences. My research has demonstrated the links between hands-on research and student success, both in summer and academic year programs. I am also interested in the interaction of body weight on academic success and have shown that higher body weight and lower physical activity is associated with lower academic success in college students.

Finally, in an offshoot of my interest in genetics, I have worked with Dr. Charles Nicols in the School of Performing Arts to create several musical compositions that demonstrate the beauty and horror of the COVID-19 virus, in our project “Playing COVID Proteins”. 

Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Good, D.J. (2023) Editorial: Non-coding RNAs in Human Health and Disease, Genes, 14(7), 1429;
  • Madsen, A.T., and Good, D.J. (2023) In silico examination of single nucleotide missense mutations in NHLH2, a gene linked to infertility and obesity, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24 (4): 3193.
  • Ariyanfar, S., and Good, D.J. (2023) Analysis of SNHG14: A Long Non-Coding RNA Hosting SNORD116, Whose Loss Contributes to Prader-Willi Syndrome Etiology, Genes, 14(1): 97,
  • Knott, B., Kocher, M.A., Paz, H.A., Hamm, S., Fink, W., Mason, J., Grange, R.W., Wankhade, U.D. and Good, D.J. (2022) Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Body Weight and Fat in Snord116m+/p- and Snord116m-/p-Mouse Models of Prader-Willi Syndrome, Nutrients, 4(4), 860;
  • Topaloglu, A.K., Simsek, E., Kocher, M.A., Mammadova, J., Bober, E., Kotan, L.D., Turan, I., Celiloglu, C., Gurbuz, F., Yuksel, B., and Good, D.J.,  (2022) Inactivating NHLH2 Variants Cause Idiopathic Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism and Obesity in Humans, Human Molecular Genetics,141(2): 295-304 doi: 10.1007/s00439-021-02422-9
  • Kocher, M.A., Huang, F., Le, E., and Good, D.J. (2021) Snord116 Post-transcriptionally Increases Nhlh2 mRNA Stability: Implications for Human Prader-Willi Syndrome, Human Molecular Genetics, June 15; 12:1101-1110; Article Link
  • Good, D.J. (2021) Editorial: New Gene Targets in the Study of Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 520: 111077. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2020.111077 Article link
  • A.S. Anderson, and Good, D.J. (2020) Self-Perceptions of Critical Thinking Skills in University Students are Associated with BMI and Exercise, Journal of American College Health, p1-7, 10.1080/07448481.2020.1803879
  • Good DJ. (2020) A low-cost, in silico nutritional genomics course-based undergraduate research experience applicable to multiple disciplines. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. Apr 11;. doi: 10.1002/bmb.21352. PubMed PMID: 32277791. Link
  • Good, D.J., Zhang, H., Grange, R., and Braun, T. (2020) POMC Neurons and the Transcriptional Regulation of Motivated Exercise, Exercise and Sports Science Reviews, 48(2):74-82 Link, Video Abstract

Books and Book Chapters

  • Good, D.J., and Echols-Miller, E., (2023) Development and Assessment of a 4-week Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates, in Creating Authentic and Inclusive Programming in STEM Higher Education Departments, Edited by Jonathan Briganti and Anne M. Brown, in press.
  • Good, D.J. and Pollio D., (2023) Using Departmental Book Clubs to Bridge the Faculty-Staff-Student Gap, in Creating Authentic and Inclusive Programming in STEM Higher Education Departments, Edited by Jonathan Briganti and Anne M. Brown, in press.
  • Anderson, A.S., Cox, H., Girmes-Grieco, N., Eaton, R., Rockwell, M., and Good, D.J., (2023) Lessons Learned during the Transition to Online Learning in a University Nutrition and Exercise Department" Higher Education - Reflections From the Field, ISBN 978-1-83768-539-4.
  • Good, D.J. (2023) Practical Metabolic Nutrition: A systems approach to vitamins and minerals., 2nd edition. Kendall-Hunt Publishers, Dubuque, IA ISBN 9798765709313,
  • Miglia, D.J., and Good, D.J., (2022) Eating for your Genes, Kendall-Hunt Publishers, Dubuque, IA, ISBN 9798765709313 Publisher’s Link
  • Good, D.J., Anderson, A.S., and Hulver, M.W. (2018) Metabolic Nutrition: An Everyday Approach to Macronutrient Metabolism, Kendall-Hunt Publishers, Dubuque, IA, ISBN 9781524974305 Publisher’s Link
  • Good, D. J. (2018) Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of hypothalamic energy balance genes. Chapter 3, In Textbook of Energy Balance, Neuropeptide Hormones, and Neuroendocrine Function. E. Nillni, Editor, Springer International Publishers, ISBN-13: 978-3319895055, pp55-73 Link
  • Good, D.J., (2017) Practical Metabolic Nutrition: A systems approach to vitamins and minerals. Kendall-Hunt Publishers, Dubuque, IA, ISBN 978-1-4652-6824-2 Publisher’s Link
  • Good, D.J., (2016) Practical Metabolic Nutrition: A systems approach to vitamins and minerals. Kendall-Hunt Publishers, Dubuque, IA, ISBN 978-1-4652-6824-2 Publisher’s Link

Oral Presentations

  • Genetics and Biology of Physical Activity Consortium (online international group) “How Tight Are Your Genes: The Role of NHLH2 Transcription Factor in the Brain…and some other stuff”. December 2022.
  • VII Obesity and Comorbidities Research Center Annual Symposium, University of Campinas, Brazil, Keynote Talk 4: "NHLH2: Discussion of its roles in fertility, obesity, and Prader-Willi-Syndrome". February 2022.
  • Cardiff University, Wales, UK. Invited Speaker, Virtual. "NHLH2: Discussion of its roles in fertility, obesity, and Prader-Willis-Syndrome". May 2021.
  • Sigma Xi Annual Meeting. Invited Panel Discussion, Madison, WI. "Panel Discussion: Our Changing Academic Environments" and "Chapter Workshop: Managing a Healthy Chapter". November 2019.
  • SUNY Fredonia-Biology Department. Invited, Fredonia, NY. "Giving Back-a journey from New York to Virginia Tech and back again". October 2019.
  • Office of Undergraduate Research Summer Research Symposium. "Giving Back-a journal from New York and Virginia Tech and back again". August 2019.
  • Department of Food Science, Virginia. "To Flip or to Flop: Critical Thinking skills and the effects of body weight and exercise levels in college students". February 2019.
  • IUNS, International Congress on Nutrition, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Session:144/111 - Promoting Nutrigenomic Education in Nutrition, Dietetics and Other Allied Health Curricula, an ISNN Intiative, "Learning complex nutrigenomics topics using in silico activies and WebEx conferencing". October 2017.
  • Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy, Virginia Tech. "Blending Large Classrooms-A strategy for flipping while trying not to completely flop" . February 2017.

Poster Presentations

  • Sible, J., Schulz, M., Good, D.J., Karpanty, S., Echols, E., (2022) Applying the Principles of Asset-Based Community Development to Building Inclusive Excellence in STEM Departments AAC&U Annual Meeting, Washington DC, November 3-5, 2022.
  • Anderson, A.S., Cox, H., Eaton, R., Girmes-Greico, N., Good, D.J., Jaskowak, J., and Rockwell, M., (2021) Lessons Learned During the Transition to Online Learning, Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy, Blacksburg, VA, 25-minute research session presentation, February 2021.
  • Gaito, N., Jarome, T, and Good, D.J. (2021) Invited Short Talk: In silico Analysis of the POMC and NPY Promoters: The Role of Methylation in Environmental Triggers of Obesity, Keystone Symposia on Obesity: From Cell to Patient. February 2021 (virtual)
  • Kocher, M.A., Huang, F., Le, E. and Good, D.J. (2020) Prader-Willi Syndrome associated non-coding RNA Snord116 stabilizes target mRNA Nhlh2 through a 2’untranslated region motif, Sigma Xi Annual Conference, online poster and oral presentation, *MAK won best graduate student presentation in Cellular and Molecular Biology category,
  • An, J., Good, D.J., Panczykowski,H.L., Tran, T.P.,  and Williams, J., (2020) Strategies for Implementing Universal Design for Learning in Your Classroom. Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy, Blacksburg, VA, 50-minute practice session presentation.
  • Good, D.J. and Anderson, A.S. (2020) A Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience in Genetics Virginia Regional Health Sciences Education Symposium, Richmond, VA, poster presentation.
  • Basso JC, Satyal, MK, Good, DJ, English, DF, and Bickel, WK (2020, June). An Investigation of Exercise Motivation In Normal Weight and Obese Humans and Rodents. American College of Sports Medicine meeting, Virtual.
  • Good, D.J., Kocher, M.A., Huang, F., Le, E. (2020) Snord116 Post-transcriptonally Increases Nhlh2 Expression Through a 3’ Untranslated Region Motif, Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, virtual.
  • Good, D.J. and Anderson, A.S. (2020) A Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience in Genetics Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy, Blacksburg, VA, 50-minute research session presentation.
  • Good, D.J., Le, E., Huang, F., and Kocher, M.A. (2019) Understanding the Role of Single Nucleotide Variants in Carriers of the PWS 15q deletion Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, poster