Matthew Styles

Credentials: Chemistry Ph.D., Summer 2021 (Blackwell)

Professor Helen Blackwell
Towards a mechanistic understanding quorum sensing agonism and antagonism: biophysical and biochemical investigations of LuxR-type receptor:ligand complexes
Future Plans
I will start a postdoctoral scholar in Bryan Dickinson's group at the University of Chicago in July 2021. In this position I hope to gain skills in synthetic biology that I can used to develop chemical biology tools for a variety of translational applications.


View ORCID associated publications.

  • M. J. Styles, S. A. Early, T. Tucholski, K. H. J. West, Y. Ge, and H. E. Blackwell. “Chemical control of quorum sensing in E. coli: identification of small molecule modulators of SdiA and mechanistic characterization of a covalent inhibitor.” ACS Infect. Dis. 2020, 6(12), 3092-3103. (DOI 10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00654)

Favorite Memory

One year I helped to organize the Chemical Biology McElvain seminar. The day of the seminar was one of my favorite events as a graduate student. We invited one of my favorite scientists in chemical biology, Jim Wells, and I was able to spend a large amount of the day/evening talking to him about the differences between biotech and academia, about his science and mine, how to find postdocs, etc. Advice for the younger students, take any opportunity that you can to meet the great seminar speakers that come to UW-Madison; even if its just something as simple as picking them up at Union South and leading them to their first meeting (I had my first conversation with Francis Arnold this way).


Hometown: Lennox, SD

I attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for undergrad. I conducted research with Christy Haynes for two years and developed a sensor for a potential bioterror agent. I loved being in the lab and talking with all these smart, creative graduate students –graduate school had to be my next step. My favorite course during undergrad was chemical biology, taught by Will Pomerantz (a UW-Madison Alum), and I was a teaching assistant for Erin Carlson’s chemical biology lab course (another UW-Madison Alum). The great people and interesting science made me choose Madison. Prior to starting graduate school I got married. While here, I conducted research in Helen Blackwell’s lab on the biophysical characteristics of quorum sensing receptors and served on the GSFLC. Finally, amidst a global pandemic, my wife and I had a daughter. After graduating this June, my family and I will move to Chicago where I will be a postdoctoral scholar in Bryan Dickinson’s lab at the University of Chicago.

Matt, congratulations on this major milestone! It has been tremendous having you as a lab member, and I learned so much form you. You will be deeply missed here. I look forward to watching your continued successes from afar at U Chicago! Keep up the great work, (soon to be) Dr. Styles — Helen Blackwell

Matthew Styles I wish you the best in your career.  I have really enjoyed working with you and appreciated all the help you gave whenever asked.  - Kristi Heming