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Lauren A. Woods

by Susan J. Ainsworth
March 31, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 13

Lauren A. Woods, 93, a retired vice president for health sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, died in Albany, Calif., on Jan. 24, 2013.

Born on a farm in Belford Township, S.D., Woods earned a joint bachelor’s degree in math, physics, and chemistry from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., in 1939.

He earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Iowa State University, under Henry Gilman, in 1943.

Woods then remained at the University of Iowa, conducting research associated with the Manhattan Project. In 1944, he joined Maurice Seevers in the pharmacology department at the University of Michigan, where he worked as a research fellow and instructor until receiving an M.D. there in 1949.

Woods was then promoted to assistant professor in the university’s pharmacology department, focusing his research on the absorption, distribution, and metabolism of chemicals and drugs, particularly opiates. Later, he focused on cancer chemotherapeutics.

After becoming a full professor, he accepted the post of chair of the pharmacology department at the University of Iowa in 1960.

Ten years later, he became vice president for health sciences at VCU, helping establish the VCU Massey Cancer Center before retiring in 1984.

Woods and his wife, Carol, created an award program for outstanding graduate student research in the VCU department of pharmacology and established the Annual Seevers Lecture in Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Michigan.

He was a member of many national research committees and an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1943.

Woods’s wife, whom he married in 1944, died in 2010. He is survived by a daughter, Judith; two sons, David and Douglas; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at s_ainsworth@acs.org and should include an educational and professional history.

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