MCB welcomed Dr. Matthias Falk to the Cellular Dynamics and Function (CDF) cluster this past December. Dr. Falk is serving as a rotating program director (PD) under the Visiting Scientist, Engineer, and Educator Program (VSEE), where he will work closely with visiting panelists, other PDs, and the greater scientific community to help shape the direction of science. In his role as program director, Dr. Falk’s expertise will help guide funding recommendations; influence new directions in the fields of science, engineering, and education; and support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. Keep reading below to learn more about Dr. Falk.


Matthias FalkHome Institution and role:

I am a professor of Cell Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. Before that I worked as Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA. I hold a PhD from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and came to the US to pursue postdoctoral research. My work includes research, teaching, and service. During my tour at NSF, I will continue my research on direct cell-to-cell communication mediated by gap junction (GJ) membrane channels. I am also engaged in collaborative research focusing on the characterization of novel bio-active glass-based tissue replacement scaffolds (also called TAMP “Tailored Amorphous Multi-Porous) at the Lehigh International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass (IMI-NFG).

Why NSF?

There were several things: I was interested in learning more about the process of extramural funding. I wanted to have an active role in extramural funding, and I also appreciated the opportunity to work for a foundation whose mission is to enhance our knowledge in the live sciences.

First Impressions?

That this is a big organization with many people; my impression has not changed since arriving.

Personal goals while at NSF?

I look forward to learning the ins and outs of funding, and to making an active contribution to funding science in the US; I hope my time serving at NSF will have a positive impact on science research.

Surprises and challenges at NSF?

The flexibility of the work time, including telework, and how often people do it; and, I am excited about how open and collegiate everyone in MCB is. Learning the ins and outs of how NSF BIO and MCB work, and learning the many acronyms NSF uses.

Advice to aspiring program directors?

This is an exciting opportunity if you are at the right time of your scientific career.

Reactions from friends and colleagues about your new role at NSF?

They are excited to hear the news and congratulate me for committing to serve the greater scientific community. Of course, they are very curious and ask me, “And how is it going?”


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