New Investigator: Nicholas Woods, Ph.D.

January 22, 2016

Image with caption: Nicholas Woods, Ph.D.

Nicholas Woods, Ph.D.

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC's 2015 Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

The New Investigator Award

New Investigator Awards go to outstanding UNMC scientists who in the past two years have secured their first funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense or other national sources. New Investigators also had to demonstrate scholarly activity such as publishing their research and/or presenting their findings at national conventions.

  • Name: Nicholas Woods, Ph.D.
  • Title: Assistant professor, Eppley Institute
  • Joined UNMC: Oct. 1, 2014
  • Hometown: Fairfield, Neb.

Research focus:
Cancer systems biology

Describe your research briefly in layman's terms.
Cancer is often caused by disruptions in genes that control DNA repair, and these same genes often influence cancer patient response to chemotherapeutics. Therefore, my research focuses on delineating new regulatory features in the DNA damage response network of proteins and how genetic variability affects these protein interaction networks. My research uses mass spectrometry technology to identify how proteins interact to better understand how signaling pathways are disrupted in cancer. We strive to obtain a comprehensive understanding of their role in the cellular system using large-scale data collection and integration combined with state-of-the art bioinformatics tools.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?
My research contributes to a better understanding of the DNA damage response network. Our large-scale protein interaction networks and the functional investigations of these interactions have led to the identification of new proteins that regulate this pathway, such as Rictor, COMMD1, and CTDP1. These findings have the potential to identify new molecular targets for anti-cancer therapies.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you, professional or personal?
The best piece of advice anyone ever gave me was from my mentor Dr. Lee at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He advised me to see the world by moving to Florida for my graduate work. It was the single piece of advice that led to great training experiences and the advancement of my professional career in science, and also how I met my wife.

List three things few people know about you.

  • My favorite band is Weezer.
  • The first thing I learned to drive was a tractor.
  • I'm a cancer survivor.


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Dr Meenakshi Shukla
January 30, 2016 at 7:20 PM

Congratulations Nick!! Great achievement !!Outstanding work !!

Ashlie Nelson
January 22, 2016 at 7:15 AM

The HSA biomedical research class congratulates you!