Miriam B. Goodman

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Miriam B. Goodman
Associate Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, School of Medicine
Member, Bio-X
Faculty Research Fellow, 2010-11

Miriam Goodman is an Associate Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology in the School of Medicine. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Ph.D. in neurobiology from The University of Chicago (1995). Following postdoctoral research at the University of Oregon (1995-97) and Columbia University (1997-2001), she joined the faculty at Stanford (2002). Goodman was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2002), Terman Fellow (2002), McKnight Fellow (2005), Klingenstein Fellow (2005) and awarded the Eppendorf & Science Prize in Neurobiology (2004).

Dr. Goodman’s research group at Stanford University studies the sense of touch and temperature using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. More is known about this tiny animal’s sense of touch than is known about our own. What is clear is that our sense of touch is essential, but underappreciated. For instance, touch plays a central role in infant development and well-being and is related to proprioception, our ability to sense our body posture and position. Decreased touch and proprioception are the most common complications of diabetes and account for more than $10 billion annually in health-care costs in the US alone. Yet, we know almost nothing about how touch and proprioception work at a fundamental level. Recently, Goodman’s group identified the key proteins that detect touch in nerve cells. Now, they are working to understand the mechanisms of touch sensation and its dysfunction.

Dr. Goodman is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Biophysical Society, and the Genetics Society of America. She serves as Associate Editor for the on-line, open-access journal, PLoS Genetics and is on the editorial board of Frontiers in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience. She is advisor to a student-run enterprise that organizes biweekly informal presentations by students and postdoctoral fellows as well as inviting internationally-recognized scientists to Stanford to deliver seminars, she advises first-year graduate students in the Neurosciences Program, and mentors undergraduates participating in Stanford Summer Research Program, which brings students who by reason of their culture, class, race, ethnicity, disability, background, work and life experiences, and/or skills and interests, bring diversity to graduate study in the biomedical and biological sciences. She has mentored undergraduates, PhD students, and postdoctoral scholars in fundamental biological research, including numerous women and minorities.

For her 2010-11 fellowship, Goodman investigated successful models for NSF ADVANCE grants at other campuses along with Stanford colleague and 2010-2011 Faculty Research Fellow, Beth L. Pruitt.

Further information about Professor Goodman and her research is available from her website and lab's page.