Ruth Woodward DVM

Ruth Woodward DVM

Credit: NIAID
Chief, Translational Research Program
Staff Scientist
Animal Program Director and Attending Veterinarian

Major Areas of Research

  • Nonhuman primate models of infectious diseases
  • Animal research model development
  • Research model refinement and replacement

View all research conducted at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC)

Program Description

The Translational Research Program (TRP) serves three major functions at the VRC: 1) provides centralized support and service for all in vivo research conducted at the VRC; 2) conducts collaborative research and animal model development; and 3) operates a fully accredited lab animal facility.

TRP provides all aspects of oversight and programmatic assistance to support teaching, training, and in vivo research for the VRC by managing all preclinical safety and regulatory issues, ensuring judicious and humane use of animals in compliance with all institutional, local, state, and federal guidelines. It is the VRC’s primary resource for consultation, collaboration, and professional assistance in selecting appropriate animal models or establishing novel models to study disease and vaccine effects.

TRP pursues independent and collaborative research projects related to animal model and preclinical product development for HIV, influenza, emerging infectious diseases such as alphaviruses, and other biodefense-focused diseases. TRP conducts translational research to advance vaccine products from preclinical stages toward human clinical trials by actively monitoring and overseeing efficacy, safety, and toxicology studies in preparation for regulatory oversight of product development. TRP also investigates novel vaccine delivery methods to enhance efficiency, vaccine efficacy, and safety.

TRP serves as a fully accredited Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC) in-house animal facility, adhering to all federal regulations. The facility provides quality animal husbandry services, veterinary care, and facility management support for rodents. The facility offers preventive medical care, routine surveillance, and quality assurance for vendor- and colony-produced animals and may also establish and maintain its own mouse breeding colonies if necessary. A variety of technical services are performed by facility staff, including parenteral injections or oral administration of Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC)-approved experimental materials; blood, tissue, and serum collection; surgical manipulations; animal identification procedures; electroporation procedures; anesthesia/analgesic administration; and other procedures as needed. The veterinary care unit also offers training for those who wish to perform these procedures themselves. For VRC studies conducted at other facilities, TRP establishes contractual agreements and coordination between investigators and these facilities. Within the in-house facility and contracted facilities, TRP ensures high-quality research in accordance with regulatory guidelines and biosafety level requirements.


Dr. Ruth Woodward received her DVM from the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991 and has served the field of laboratory animal medicine for 30 years. Her expertise is in nonhuman primate research model development, research support, procedure refinement, and clinical veterinary medicine. She was stationed at the NIH Animal Center Nonhuman Primate Quarantine Facility during her term with the US Public Health Service from 1991-1996. She then transitioned to a private sector position as Director of the Nonhuman Primate Retrovirology Research Program at Advanced BioScience Laboratories, Inc. In this capacity, she supported numerous retrovirology research projects for both NIAID and NCI. In 2001, Dr. Woodward returned to the NIH to head the NIH Animal Center Shared Facility and oversee the NICHD nonhuman primate research program. Here, she contributed her extensive veterinary expertise and collaborated on developmental, behavioral, and infectious disease research projects conducted by NICHD, NIMH, NCI, and NIAID. Dr. Woodward has been the Chief, Translational Research Program and Animal Program Director at the VRC since 2020.

Selected Publications

Gozalo AS, Elkins WR, Lambert LE, Stock F, Thomas ML, Woodward RA. Genetic diversity of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates during an outbreak in a nonhuman primate research colony. J Med Primatol. 2016;45(6):213-317.

Liu Y, Shim Park E, Gibbons AT, Shide ED, Divi RL, Woodward RA, Poirier MC. Mitochondrial compromise in 3-year old patas monkeys exposed in utero to human-equivalent antiretroviral therapies. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2016;57(7):526-34.

Vinton C, Klatt NR, Harris LD, Briant JA, Sanders-Beer BE, Herbert R, Woodward R, Silvestri G, Pandrea I, Apetrei C, Hirsch VM, Brenchley JM. CD4-like immunological function by CD4-T cells in multiple natural hosts of simian immunodeficiency virusJ Virol. 2011;85(17):8702-8.

Zhao J, Lou Y, Pinczewski J, Malkevitch N, Alrich K, Kalyanaraman V, Peng B, Petterson LJ, Mattapallil J, Roederer M, Edghill-Smith Y, Woodward R, Pavlakis G, Robert-Guroff M. Boosting of SIV-Specific Cellular Immune Responses in Rhesus Macaques by Repeated Administration of Ad5hr-SIV env/rev and –SIVgag RecombinantsVaccine. 2003 Sept 8;21(25-26):4022-35.

Edghill-Smith Y, Aldrich K, Johnson M, Heylinger A, Perrin RP, Woodward R, Robert-Guroff M. Effects of Intestinal Survival Surgery on Systemic and Mucosal Immune Responses in SIV-infected Rhesus Macaques. Journal Medical Primatology. 2002; 31:313-322.

Hel A, Poudyal M, Tsai W, Guiliani L, Woodward R, Chougnet C, Shearer G, Altman J, Watkins D, Bischofberger N, Abimiku A, Markham P, Tartaglia J, Franchini G. Viremia control following antiretroviral treatment and therapeutic immunization during primary SIV251 infection of macaques. Nat Med. 2000;6:1140-1146.

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