WELCOME AND FAREWELL: DIVISION LEADERSHIP CHANGES

The division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) welcomes Dr. Theresa Good as its new, permanent, division director. Dr. Good replaces Dr. Basil Nikolau, who ended a three-year term as a rotating division director on March 28. Dr. Brent Miller will serve a three-month term as MCB’s deputy division director.

Dr. Theresa Good, Division Director, completed a doctoral degree in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her career as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Texas A&M University, where she was tenured. She then worked as a professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research focus was on using bioengineering tools to understand the role of protein aggregation in disease.

Dr. Good began her service with the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a program director in the Directorate for Engineering from 2010-2012 and then in MCB from 2012-2015, where she managed programs in biotechnology, biochemical engineering, and systems and synthetic biology. In 2015, she assumed the role of deputy division director. In this role she managed all aspects of division performance, including both operations and the division’s role in funding the leading edges of fundamental research in biology.

Asked what she hopes to focus on in her first year as MCB division director, Dr. Good said “I’d like to see us find a way to encourage more bold science in the submissions MCB receives from the science community. I want to see us working on opportunities to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. I think there is a need for more two-way communication between MCB and the science community.”

Dr. Brent Miller, acting division director, Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Dr. Brent Miller, Acting Deputy Division Director, earned a doctoral degree in cell and developmental biology at the University of California, Davis. He served as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at NSF through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from 2006-2008 before working as a science advisor at Wellcome Trust, where he managed the human physiology portfolio.

After Wellcome, Brent worked as a research staff member at IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute, where he worked with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop the Obama administration’s National Bioeconomy Blueprint. He worked most recently as a health science policy analyst at the National Institute of Mental Health leading the effort to develop the institution’s strategic plan. He returned to NSF/BIO in 2015 to work as a science advisor in the Office of the Assistant Director, where he developed the directorate’s capabilities in strategic portfolio analysis. 

Dr. Miller’s experience in developing science vision and strategic planning, as well as his expertise in data analytics, will help ensure MCB’s contribution to NSF’s mission of building the future via investments in discovery and innovation.

Dr. Basil Nikolau, former division director for the division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Dr. Basil Nikolau, outgoing Division Director, joined MCB as a division director in 2018, ably leading MCB during his three-year term. His love of science was a hallmark of his leadership, as well as his empathy and compassion for others. These qualities helped Dr. Nikolau keep morale high during both the 2019 lapse in appropriations and the current pandemic. He helped channel the division’s energy and concern during periods of social unrest into development of new diversity, equity, and inclusion activities. Dr. Nikolau’s commitment to both science and people was unwavering; as a result, MCB has thrived. MCB wishes Dr. Nikolau a warm farewell and wishes him much success in his next adventure

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