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Faculty Recognition Award
Ronald W. Woodard

Ronald W. Woodard’s many accomplishments in the field of medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry place him at the forefront of research focusing on antibacterial resistance. Woodard, a productive researcher and rigorous instructor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry since 1980, is admired by University and international colleagues for the intellect, creativity and energy he brings to his scholarly endeavors.

At the heart of Woodard’s research is a major health problem: the resistance to classic antibacterial agents such as penicillin. One solution is to design new agents that work in a completely different way so that there is no cross-resistance with current pharmaceuticals. Crucial to this approach is a thorough, molecular-level understanding of enzymes that act as catalysts to bacterial biosynthesis processes that need to be inhibited to prevent resistance. Once the enzymes are understood, inhibitors can be created.

Woodard and his team have provided a detailed structural organization of two key enzymes in this area, KDO-8-P synthase and DAH-7-P synthase, which has greatly increased the scientific community’s understanding of complex carbohydrate metabolism in bacteria. Their work will be of tremendous importance in the design and development of new generations of antibacterial drugs. It also has attracted outside recognition. Woodard and his team were named 2002 Computer World Honors Program finalists for the robotic methods, computer techniques and graphical representations involved in the research, and the team’s work will be featured on the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Web site.

Woodard’s laboratory serves as a superb environment for the training of high quality scientists. He has mentored many excellent graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and pharmacy students. In 2001, he was named teacher of the year in the College of Pharmacy, the first basic science faculty member to receive this honor. He also is widely hailed as a good academic citizen for the time he devotes to committee assignments, both within the department and University-wide, and for his participation in conference organization, refereeing and service to a number of scientific societies.

Michael A. Savageau
Lawrence Sklar
Kensell D. Wise
Robert E. Lewis
Don B. Clewell
Andrew F. Nagy
Jeffrey R. Parsons
Julia Adams
Richard D. Woods
Fred C. Adams
Photios G. Ioannou

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