Professor and Director, School of Molecular Sciences
Professor Neal Woodbury received his B.S. degree from UC Davis and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1986. He then performed postdoctoral research at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and later at Stanford University. He joined the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at Arizona State University (now School of Molecular Sciences) in 1988. His research is performed in the Center for Innovations in Medicine in the Biodesign Institute. One aspect of his research has focused on the development of very large ordered libraries of peptides on surfaces using photolithographic approaches. Working closely with Professor Stephen Johnston, he has applied these synthetic approaches to support a diagnostic platform that Johnston invented called immunosignaturing, a powerful approach to comprehensive health monitoring by frequent profiling of the circulating antibody repertoire. Johnston and Woodbury founded HealthTell, LLC to commercialize this opportunity. Another aspect of Woodburys work involves the study of photosynthetic systems, with the goal of understanding the role that protein dynamics plays in protein-mediated chemistry. He works with Dr. Su Lin and Professors Dmitry Matyushov and James Allen in this area. This has resulted in a convergence of experimental and theoretical information that supports the notion the proteins have the unique ability as chemical solvents to control the detailed dynamics of the bath surrounding a reaction and Nature has used this to great advantage. Finally, Woodbury works in collaboration with Professors Hao Yan and Don Seo to translate some of the ideas that have come out of the study of photosynthesis and enzymology to create nanoscale devices based on DNA nanostructures and nanophotonic systems. This work has made it clear that mimicking biologys ability to organize catalysis at the nanoscale is a very powerful approach to directing both chemical and photochemical reactions in specific ways.