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