Dubbed the "Fly Room," Craig Woodard's laboratory is nearly always buzzing with activity. It's here that Woodard and his students breed the common fruit fly—Drosophila melanogastar—to study how steroid hormones affect animal development, analyzing genes that act to turn a fruit fly from a larva into an adult insect.
Says Woodard, "From what we learn we can make inferences about how genes are controlling the development of a human. By studying a model organism like a fruit fly we're learning the rules."
In 1997, Woodard's research won the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which honored the scientist with an Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award. The program aims to enhance academic careers "in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning." Recently Woodard won a three-year grant of $350,000 from the NSF to study tissue-specific gene regulation in Drosophila.
The company of flies hasn't dampened Woodard's interest in other pursuits. When he isn't dissecting maggots, lecturing, or supervising his research assistants, Woodard might be found plunging down a mountain bike trail somewhere in the Holyoke Range. It's one of the passions the wiry, energetic professor has managed to keep burning in his life as a teacher, researcher, husband, and father of two young boys.
Woodard's findings on Drosophila metamorphosis have been published in Cell, the Journal of Comparative Physiology, and Perspectives in Comparative Endocrinology.
- Bond, N., Nelliot, A., Bernardo, M.K., **Gorski, K., **Ayerh, M., Hoshizaki, D.K. and Woodard, C.T (2011). "ßFTZ-F1 and Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 are Required for Fat-Body Remodeling in Drosophila." Developmental Biology. 360: 286-296. doi:10:1016/j.ydbio.2011.09.015
- Kim, C., Srivastava, S., Rice, M., Godenschwege, T.A., Bentley, B., **Shao. S., **Ravi, S., Woodard, C.T., and Schwartz, L.M. (2011). "Expression of Human Amyloid Precursor Protein in the Skeletal Muscles of Drosophila Results in Age- and Activity-Dependent Muscle Weakness." BMC Physiology. 11:7. doi:10.1186/1472-6793-11-7
- Maloney, M., Parker, J., LeBlanc, M., Woodard, C.T., Glackin, M., and Hanrahan, M. (2010). "Bioinformatics and the Undergraduate Curriculum." CBE Life Sciences Education 9: 172-174
- Woodard, C., Alcorta, E., and Carlson, J. (2007). "The rdgB Gene of Drosophila: A Link Between Vision and Olfaction." J.Neurogenetics. 21: 291-305 (Reissued).
- Pick, L., Anderson, W.R., Shulz, J., and Woodard, C.T. (2006). "The Ftz-F1 Family: Orphan Nuclear Receptors Regulated by Novel Protein-Protein Interactions." Nuclear Receptors in Development. Volume 16 (Advances in Developmental Biology series).
- Fortier, T.M., Chatterjee, R., Klinedinst, S., Baehrecke, E.H., and Woodard, C.T. (2006). "How Functions in Leg Development During Drosophila Metamorphosis." Developmental Dynamics. 235: 2248-2259.
- Fortier, T.M., **Vasa, P.P., and Woodard, C.T. (2003). "Orphan Nuclear Receptor ßFTZ-F1 is Required for Muscle-Driven Morphogenetic Events at the Prepupal-Pupal Transition in Drosophila melanogaster." Developmental Biology. 257: 153–165.
- Lee C.-Y., Simon C.R., Woodard, C.T. and Baehrecke E.H. (2002). "Genetic Mechanism for the Stage- and Tissue-Specific Regulation of Steroid-Triggered Programmed Cell Death in Drosophila." Developmental Biology. 252: 138–148
- Gaines, P, Tompkins, L., Woodard, C.T., and Carlson, J.R. (2000). "Quick-to-court, a Drosophila Mutant with Elevated Levels of Sexual Behavior, is Defective in a Predicted Coiled-Coil Protein." Genetics. 154: 1627–1637.
- Broadus, J., **McCabe, J., **Endrizzi, B., Thummel, C.S., and Woodard, C.T. (1999). "The Drosophila ßFTZ-F1 Orphan Nuclear Receptor Provides Competence for Stage-Specific Responses to the Steroid Hormone Ecdysone." Molecular Cell 3: 143–149.
- Gaines, P., Woodard, C.T., and Carlson, J.R. (1999). "An Enhancer Trap Line Identifies the Drosophila Homolog of the L37a Ribosomal Protein." Gene 239: 137–143.
- NSF DBI Grant, "UBM-Institutional: Collaborative Research: Four College Biomath Consortium," with Amherst, Smith and Hampshire Colleges. (Mount Holyoke co-PI: Martha Hoopes), September 1, 2011-August 31, 2016.
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2008 Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Grant (with Janice Hudgings) September 2008 - August 2012
- The George I. Alden Trust Grant “Microscopy Equipment for Introductory and Intermediate Science Labs” (PI--working with several other faculty) March 2008 - February 2009
- NSF MRI Grant, “Acquisition of Genomics Instrumentation at Mount Holyoke College” (Co-Author with PIs: Sarah Bacon, Amy Frary, Lilian Hsu, Megan Nunez and Sharon Stranford)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Mini-Grant “Seeding commitments to diversity: Disseminating effective retention and mentoring programs” (with Wendy Raymond of Williams College and others)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2004 Undergraduate Science Award (with Sean Decatur) September 2004–August 2008
- NSF RUI Grant, “Tissue-Specific Gene Regulation in Drosophila” August 2001–July 2005
- NSF Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) Grant, “Acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope at Mount Holyoke College” (Co-PI; PI: Steven Dunn, Other Co-PIs: Wei Chen, Melinda Dyar, and Amy Frary), July 2002–June 2005
- NSF Major Research Instrumentation/ Research at Undergraduate Institutions (MRI/RUI) Grant, “Acquisition of Instrumentation for High Resolution Light Microscopy and Image Processing at Mount Holyoke College” (Co-PI; PI: Sue Ellen Gruber; Other Co-PIs: Sarah Bacon, Susan Barry, and Sharon Stranford), July 2002–June 2005
- "Grant Will Engage Students in Biomathematics," Office of Communications, September 14, 2011
- "Craig Woodard on Obama’s Science Policy," Office of Communications, March 24, 2009
- "Learning the Rules: Woodard's Flies Are Model Organism for Genetic Research," College Street Journal, January 25, 2002
Photo Credit: Leah Masci, LITS Webteam.