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Memoir

Ronald W. Woodard
Regents' Proceedings

Ronald W. Woodard, Ph.D., F.F. Blicke Collegiate Professor of Pharmacy and professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, and professor of chemistry in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, retired from active faculty status on December 31, 2018.

Professor Woodard received his B.S. degree from Jacksonville State University in 1968, his M.S. degree from Georgia State University in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1978. He joined the University of Michigan faculty as an assistant professor in 1980, and was promoted to associate professor in 1986, and professor in 1998. Professor Woodard was appointed professor of chemistry in 2002 and the F.F. Blicke Collegiate Professor of Pharmacy in 2008. He served as the associate chair (2000-04) and chair (2004-12) of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry.

A world-renowned expert in the area of enzyme chemistry, Professor Woodard studied the biosynthesis of natural products and carbohydrates for the purpose of identifying potential new targets for the development of antimicrobial agents. His research group was the first in the world to identify and characterize the gene and protein products of two of the enzymes in the Kds pathway. They also made a major discovery that disproved 100-year-old conventional wisdom when they genetically modified E. coli in a way that significantly weakened its defense mechanism, thereby making it a potential host for the production of less-expensive, lower- toxicity vaccines and protein products, such as insulin and human growth factor. These findings could also lead to the creation of new and improved antibiotics for the possible treatment of bacterial illnesses such as Salmonella poisoning, typhoid fever, cholera, gonorrhea, meningitis, and others. Professor Woodard was instrumental in establishing the college's Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Core, as well as the creation of the Vahlteich Medicinal Chemistry Core, a significant component of Michigan Drug Discovery. Professor Woodard has served the college and his profession with extreme dedication and has been an extraordinary scholar and educator. He received the College of Pharmacy's Teacher of the Year Award (2000-01) and the University of Michigan's Faculty Recognition Award (2001-02). He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his outstanding work in 2007.

The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member by naming Ronald W. Woodard, F.F. Blicke Collegiate Professor Emeritus of Pharmacy, professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry, and professor emeritus of chemistry.