Richard I. Woodruff: Teacher, Scholar, Mentor, Colleague Print
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 07:45

Professor Richard I. Woodruff served as a faculty member in the Department of Biology from 1966-2004.  During that time he made numerous important contributions to the University, the Department, our students, and to the field of science.  Following his retirement, he remained an active researcher at WCU with substantial funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

As an active member of the curriculum committee, Dr. Woodruff was instrumental in reshaping the current Biology department curriculum.  During several key transformations, he provided the necessary leadership to successfully revise our basic biology program.  Basic Biology (BIO 100) serves as an introduction to science and as a core requirement for many non-science majors across campus.  For these students, BIO 100 may be their only exposure to biology and its potential impact on their daily lives.  Dr. Woodruff was a leader among the faculty who introduced the concept of team teaching using a large-lecture small-laboratory format; this model has subsequently been implemented in additional courses within our department with great success.  Prior to its revision BIO 100 was taught from a natural history perspective rather than as a modern laboratory science.  As such, the update of BIO 100 required a complete revision of the lecture and the development of new, experimental laboratories.  Dr. Woodruff taught BIO 100 for 25 years and served 20 years as its coordinator.

Dr. Woodruff was also instrumental in updating and redefining the curriculum of our current introductory class for biology majors (BIO 110).  He recognized the value of exposing these students to the interdisciplinary nature of biology early in their training and advocated the appropriate changes to accomplish this goal.  Both faculty and students agree that the resulting changes provide an excellent introduction to the different aspects and disciplines within modern Biology.  Dr. Woodruff taught BIO 110 for 13 years and served 10 years as its coordinator.

In 1988, Dr. Woodruff carried his interdisciplinary approach one step further by developing a new interdisciplinary science course, Origins of Life and the Universe (SCB 210).  This proved to be a difficult task because it required the collaboration of four science departments.  Once SCB 210 was developed and approved by all four departments, Dr. Woodruff taught and coordinated it for 18 years.  In recognition of his many outstanding contributions to student learning, Dr. Woodruff was presented with a Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1978.

Dr. Woodruff also created the Department of Biology’s Light Microscopy Facility.  This facility provides faculty and students from all departments with access to a wide spectrum of advanced and sophisticated equipment and techniques for light microscopy.  Dr. Woodruff single-handedly either acquired or personally fabricated all of the instrumentation in the current facility.  In addition to supporting research, the facility is also used for teaching various courses including Light Microscopy and the Living Cell (BIO 480/580).  As a result of the advanced training and techniques available in this facility, our graduates have been able to successfully compete for positions in a variety of scientific careers.

Dr. Woodruff was an outspoken proponent of student success.  As an early advisor to the “Biology Club”, he effected a name change to the “Darlington Biological Society” (DBS) which still exists today.  As its advisor, he initiated a program to bring outstanding scientists to the University to present seminars.  It is worth noting that the scientists were chosen and hosted by our Biology majors.

Dr. Woodruff also provided important administrative services to the University at all levels of its operations.  He served a term as President of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), an organization dedicated to the advancement of academic freedom and shared governance.  For the University, he served on numerous committees including the Pre-Medical and Pre-Professional Committee, the Faculty Development Committee (FDC), and the Faculty Senate.  Departmental committees included the Advisory Committee, several promotion committees, several faculty search committees, staff search committees, the Graduate Committee, and the Curriculum Committee.  Thus, Dr. Woodruff played a significant role in selecting the current compliment of faculty and staff within the Department of Biology.  His colleagues, both past and present, consistently praised Dr. Woodruff for serving with distinction on all of his committee assignments.

Professor Woodruff maintained a strong, productive, and well funded research program.  Throughout his career, he published the results of his scientific research in a variety of highly prestigious journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the journal Nature.  In total, he published over 40 research papers, and three book chapters.  In these publications he collaborated with over 20 investigators from well known institutions such as Wood Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, S.U.N.Y Stoney Brook, Purdue University and the University of Manitoba.  He reviewed numerous NSF proposals, and acted as a reviewer for several international journals including Developmental Biology and Journal of Insect Physiology.  His research efforts were recognized through a WCU Faculty Merit Award for Scholarship in 2000 and a Distinguished Sponsored Research Award in 2004.

Encouraging students to become involved with research was one of his well-established goals as well as one of his greatest successes.  He was an outspoken advocate and strong proponent of student research.  During his career at West Chester, Dr. Woodruff mentored and trained numerous undergraduate and graduate students.  As part of student training, he was instrumental in organizing and creating an annual student poster session where students from all of the sciences could present the results of their research.  In addition, 15 different students are co-authors with Dr. Woodruff on a variety of research articles published in peer reviewed journals.  These experiences have allowed his students to go on to a variety of careers in the sciences including university faculty, doctors, veterinarians, science school teachers, or research scientists in the private sector.

In early September of this year (2012) the Department lost a good friend and valued colleague.  You are missed by all who had the pleasure to have known you.


  1. Woodruff, R.I., and W.H. Telfer (1973). Polarized Intercellular Bridges in Ovarian Follicles of the Cecropia Moth. J. Cell Biol. 58: 172-188.
  2. Woodruff, R.I., and W.H. Telfer (1974). Electrical Properties of Ovarian Cells Linked by Intercellular Bridges. Annals N.Y. Acad. Sci. 238: 408-419.
  3. Jaffe, L.F., and R.I. Woodruff (1977). Electrical Current Patterns through Developing Cecropia Follicles. J. Cell Biol. 75: 23a.
  4. Woodruff, R.I., and W.H. Telfer (1979). The Effect of Ionic Charge on the Polarized Movement of Microinjected Proteins through Intercellular Bridges of a Moth Follicle. J. Cell Biol. 83: 88a.
  5. Woodruff, R.I. (1979). Electrontonic Junctions in Cecropia Moth Ovaries. Devel. Biol. 69: 281-295.
  6. Jaffe, L.F., and R.I. Woodruff (1979). Large Electrical Currents Traverse Developing Cecropia Follicles. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (U.S.A.) 76(3): 1328-1322.
  7. Woodruff, R.I., and W.H. Telfer (1980). Electrophoresis of Proteins in Intercellular Bridges. Nature 286 (#5768) (3 July): 84-86.
  8. Huebner, E., R.I. Woodruff, and W.H.Telfer (1980). Electrophysiological and Structural Aspects of Nurse Cell-Oocyte Interaction in the Telotrophic Ovarioles of Rhodnius prolixus. Amer. Zool. 20: 867.
  9. Telfer, W.H., R.I. Woodruff, and E. Huebner (1980). Intercellular Exchange in Vitellogenic Moth Follicles. 6th International Conference of Entomology (Kyoto, Japan).
  10. Telfer, W.H., R.I. Woodruff, and E. Huebner (1981). Electrical Polarity and Cellular Differentiation in Meroistic Ovaries. Amer. Zool. 21: 675-686.
  11. Woodruff, R.I., D.A. Lutz, and S. Inoue (1982). Lucifer yellow CH as a non-intrusive, in vivo fluorescent probe for physiological studies during early development. Biol. Bul. 163(2): 379.
  12. Woodruff, R.I., and K.L. Anderson (1984). Nutritive cord connection and dye coupling of the follicular epithelium to the growing oocyte in telotrophic ovarioles in Oncopeltus fasciatus, the milkweed bug. Roux's Arch. Devel. Biol., 193: 158-163.
  13. Woodruff, R.I., E. Huebner and W.H.Telfer, (1984). The origin of electrical properties of insect ovarian follicles: in Advances in Invert. Reprod. #3, W. Engels, W.H. Clark, P.Fischer, P.J.W. Olive and D.F. Went, Eds. Elsevier, Amsterdam. 652.
  14. Woodruff, R.I., E. Huebner and W.H.Telfer, (1986). Electrical properties of insect ovarian follicles: Some challenges of a multi-cellular system. in Ionic Currents in Development, R.Nuccitelli, Ed. Alan Liss Inc. 147-154.
  15. Woodruff, R.I., E. Huebner and W.H.Telfer (1986). Ion Currents in Hyalophora Ovaries: The Role of the Epithelium and Intercellular Spaces of the Trophic Cap. Devel. Biol. 117: 405-416.
  16. Stynan, D.E., R.I. Woodruff and W.H. Telfer, (1986). The effect of ionophores of vitellogenin internalization in the cecropia silkmoth. J. Cell Bio., 101 (#5, part 2) 288a.
  17. Woodruff, R.I., J.H. Kulp, and E.D. LaGaccia.(1988). Electrically mediated protein movement in Drosophila follicles. Roux's Arch. Devel. Biol., 197 :231-238.
  18. Stynan, D.E., R.I. Woodruff and W.H.Telfer, (1988). The effects of ionophores on endosome processing and cytoplasmic pH during vitellogenesis in Hyalophora. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 8: 261-278. 
  19. Woodruff, R.I. (1989). Charge-dependent molecular movement through intercellular bridges in Drosophila follicles. Biol. Bull. 176(s): 71-78.
  20. Woodruff, R.I., and W.H. Telfer (1990). Activation of a New Physiological State at the onset of Vitellogenesis of Hyalophora follicles. Devel. Biol. 138: 410-420.
  21. Woodruff, Richard I., A.L. Miller, and L.F.Jaffe (1991). Differences in free calcium concentration between oocytes and nurse cells revealed by corrected aequorin luminescence. The Biological Bulletin 181 (2): 349-350.
  22. Woodruff, R.I. , A. Munz, and W.H. Telfer. (1992). Steady-state potentials in ovarian follicles of a moth, Hyalophora cecropia. J. Insect Physiol. 38(1): 49-60.
  23. Woodruff, R.I. (1992). Electrically mediated molecular movement in insect follicles. Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Entomology. Pg. 68
  24. Singleton, K., and R.I. Woodruff (1994). The osmolarity of adult Drosophila hemolymph and its effect on oocyte-nurse cell electrical polarity. Devel. Biol., 161: 154-167.
  25. Woodruff, R.I., and W.H. Telfer (1994). A steady state gradient in calcium ion activity across the intercellular bridges connecting oocytes and nurse cells in Hyalophora cecropia.. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 25: 9-20.
  26. Cole, R.W., and R.I. Woodruff (1997). Charge dependent distribution of endogenous proteins within ovarian follicles of Actias luna. J. Insect Physiol.43: 275-287.
  27. Woodruff, R.I. (1997). Fabrication of ion selective miceoelectrodes by a centrifugation/suction method. BioTech. 23: 100-102.
  28. Woodruff, R.I., Dittmann, F., and W.H. Telfer (1998). Ca2+ current from oocyte to nurse cells and  suppression of uridine incorporation in the germinal vesicle of Hyalophora cecropia. Invert. Reprod. Devel. 34: 157-164
  29. Woodruff, R. I. and Tilney, L. G. (1998). Intercellular bridges between epithelial cells in the Drosophila ovarian follicle: a possible aid to localized signaling. Devel. Biol. 200: 82-91.
  30. Adler, Erika L. and R.I. Woodruff (2000). Varied effects of 1-octanol on gap junctional communication between ovarian epithelial cells and oocytes on Oncopeltus fasciatus, Hyalophora cecropia, and Drosophila melanogaster. Arch. Insect. Biochem. Physiol. 43: 22-32.
  31. Cole, R.W. and R.I. Woodruff (2000). Vitellogenic ovarian follicles of Drosophila exhibit a charge dependent distribution of endogenous solulble proteins. J. Insect Physiol. 46: 1239-1248.
  32. Fischer, N.O., G.N.K. Mbuy, and R.I. Woodruff (2001).  HSV-2 disrupts gap junctional intercellular communication between mammalian cells in vitro.  J. Viro. Methods. 91(2): 157-166.
  33. Anderson, K.L. and R.I. Woodruff (2001).  A gap junctionally transmitted epithelial cell signal regulates endocytic yolk uptake in oncopeltus fasciatus.  Dev. Biol. 239: 68-78.
  34. Waksmonski, S.L. and Woodruff, R.I. (2002).  For uptake of yolk precursor, epithelial cell-oocyte gap junctional communication is required by insects representing six different orders.  J. Insect Phys. 48: 667-675.
  35. Musée, J., Mbuy, G.N.K. and Woodruff, R.I. (2002). Antiviral agents alter ability of hsv-2 to disrupt gap junctional intercellular communication between mammalian cells in vitro.  J. Antiviral Research, 56: 143-151.
  36. Telfer, W.H. and Woodruff, R.I. (2002).  The Ion Physiology of vitellogenic follicles.  J. Insect Phys., 48: 915-923. (requested review article)
  37. Brooks RA, Woodruff RI. (2004).  Calmodulin transmitted through gap junctions stimulates endocytic incorporation of yolk precursors in insect oocytes. Dev Biol. 271:339-49.
  38. Woodruff RI. (2005).  Calmodulin transit via gap junctions is reduced in the absence of an electric field.  J Insect Physiol. 51:843-52.
  39. Knabb MT, Danielsen CA, McShane-Kay K, Mbuy GK, Woodruff RI. (2006).  Herpes simplex virus-type 2 infectivity and agents that block gap junctional intercellular communication.  Virus Res. 124:212-9.
  40. Cieniewicz AM, Woodruff RI. (2008).  Importance of molecular configuration in gap junctional permeability.  J Insect Physiol. 54:1293-300.
  41. Munley SM, Kinzeler S, Lizzano R, Woodruff RI. (2009).  Fractional contribution of major ions to the membrane potential of Drosophila melanogaster oocytes.  Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 70:230-43.
  42. Brown PT, Herbert P, Woodruff RI. (2010).  Vitellogenesis in Oncopeltus fasciatus: PLC/IP(3), DAG/PK-C pathway triggered by CaM. J Insect Physiol. 56:1300-5.
  43. Miezeiewski B, McShane-Kay K, Woodruff RI, Mbuy GK, Knabb MT.  (2012).  Role of Adherens Junction Proteins in Differential Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infectivity in Communication-Competent and -Deficient Cell Lines.  Intervirology.  In Press.