Seiichi Matsuda (Grad Dean)


As Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Matsuda is responsible for the oversight of all of Rice’s graduate programs. His office handles academic administration, student programming and development, and promotes student success and well-being. Under Matsuda’s leadership as dean, the applicant pools for Rice’s graduate programs have expanded as graduate programs have gained greater recognition domestically and internationally. New matriculants to Rice graduate programs have brought more than double the number of major national awards, such as Goldwater Scholarships and Fulbright Scholarships. Rice graduate students have won nearly twice as many major fellowships, such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Matsuda, a recipient of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, has promoted the outreach and visibility of Rice research by organizing the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium. His focus on improving all aspects of graduate education and graduate student life at Rice is fully aligned a with core components of the V2C2 — the university’s Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade initiative. 

Matsuda conducts research on terpenoids, the largest group of plant natural products. Terpenoids play essential roles in plant physiology and defense. Matsuda’s laboratory is searching plant genomes for the enzymes that make these compounds to illuminate the structural and evolutionary origins of terpenoid structural diversity.

Dean Matsuda graduated with a B.A. in chemistry from Bethel College and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard. A member of the Rice faculty since 1995, Matsuda served as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2007 to 2013 before becoming dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies in 2014. A former recipient of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, Matsuda conducts research on terpenoids, the most numerous and structurally diverse group of small molecules synthesized by plants.

Dean Matsuda considers it a privilege to serve the graduate and postdoctoral students, "whose research and creative achievements inspire us and improve human welfare."