Deborah Good

Associate Professor
  • Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Dr. Good studies how body weight is controlled through physical activity, using mouse models and focusing on a specific transcription factor, Nhlh2, and its gene regulatory targets.

Debby Good Research


Physical inactivity can lead to obesity, diabetes and several other health concerns. The Nhlh2 gene is one of only a handful of genes that have been specifically shown to regulate either the ability or motivation for physical activity. Dr. Good's lab uses mouse models, and human genetic information to identify the mechanisms and the possible solutions for physical inactivity.

Dr. Good's research is interdisciplinary in nature and she coordinates multiple projects with faculty across campus, the U.S., and internationally. In one of her projects, she is working with George Davis, a professor in the department of agricultural and applied economics, to understand intergenerational effects of food pricing on weight. On another project, Dr. Good is collaborating with Roderick Jensen, professor of biological sciences, and Richard Helm, professor of biochemistry, to examine the response of hypothalamic microRNA, mRNA and proteins to food deprivation. She is also working with Matt Hulver, associate professor of human nutrition, foods, & exercise, and Madlyn Frisard, assistant professor of human nutrition, foods, & exercise, to study energy expenditure in the N2KO mice, as well as the role of Nhlh2 in skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation. Lastly, she works with Dr. Thomas Braun at the Max Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim, Germany, to study physical activity using mouse models his laboratory created.

Ultimately, Dr. Good would like to understand the genetics of physical activity levels, and determine if there are specific polymorphisms in genes that predispose people to low physical activity levels. These studies will help scientists develop therapies directed at those genes and combat obesity.