Andrew Goodman, PhD, recently named C.N.H. Long Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis, focuses his research on the gut microbiome—the collection of bacteria, mostly in the gastrointestinal tract, that every person acquires after birth.
In his laboratory, Goodman works to understand how these bacteria “talk” to each other and to us. The lab has recently uncovered how the bacteria use a sense of touch to constantly check whether their neighbors are similar or different from themselves. Goodman hopes that understanding how these bacteria check on each other in this manner will provide new opportunities to introduce beneficial bacteria, or to eliminate harmful species, from the gut microbiome.
Goodman is also trying to understand how these gut bacteria impact the function and side effects of therapeutic medications. It’s been clear for a long time that two people can take the same medication with different results, and he is exploring whether differences in gut microbes could help explain why. He has discovered that some of these gut bacteria can transform beneficial medications into toxic chemicals, or just eat the medicines entirely. He is striving to develop ways to use this information to improve how people respond to medical drugs.
A graduate of Princeton University, Goodman earned his Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Harvard Medical School. Following postdoctoral research at Washington University (St. Louis), he began his academic career at Yale in 2011. He had held a series of tenure track appointments, and served most recently as a professor of microbial pathogenesis.
Goodman’s research is supported by grants from federal agencies and private foundations, including the National Institutes of Health, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, among other organizations. This work has been widely published in professional journals, policy briefs, and chapters in edited books.
Goodman has been recognized for his research with numerous honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers.