Molly Matty, Ph.D.

Molly Matty, Ph.D.

University of Portland

Molly A. Matty, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of biology at the in Portland, Oregon. She earned her Ph.D. from Duke University, where she worked with Dr. David Tobin to explore host-directed therapies for mycobacterial infections using zebrafish as a model system. 

She performed her postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute, where she transitioned to the invertebrate model, C. elegans. In addition to switching model systems, she switched research fields from infectious disease biology and innate immune interactions to host-microbiome interactions.

While at the Salk Institute, Matty became interested in how gut states—particularly those from the microbiome—impacted animal behavior. Her postdoctoral work helped characterize the signaling pathways involved in the gut-brain axis during C. elegans decision-making processes. Her work was funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology, and her transition to behavioral science was supported by a summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory Woods Hole course "Neural Systems and Behavior."

While a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher, she was passionately involved in outreach and educational programming within, and beyond, her community and continues to prioritize mentorship and support for students around the world. 

Matty started at the University of Portland, a primarily undergraduate institution, in 2022. She teaches genetics and biology courses while running a small lab of undergraduates. The Matty Lab uses C. elegans as a model system to understand how environmental microbes impact gut-brain signaling. Her research is at the intersections of genetics, microbiology and behavioral neuroscience and allows student-researchers to find their passions within these diverse fields.