Dr. William F. Wood
Humboldt State University Department of Chemistry
Professor William F. Wood teaches organic and general chemistry. His research is centered in the area of chemical ecology, specifically how plants and animals use chemicals to convey messages. Animal skin gland studies include the defensive secretions from four species of skunks, the interdigital glands from deer, American pronghorn, African antelope and the scent glands of snakes. He has also described the compounds that give the giraffe, its disagreeable odor, and a putative alarm pheromone from American pronghorn that has a popcorn-like odor. These animal gland studies led to the discovery of a new antibiotic from deer interdigital glands that could be used in the treatment of human acne. The studies of odors from wild mushrooms have identified compounds with cucumber, candy-like, orange blossom (floral), fetid and anise-like odors. Several compounds from mushrooms that keeps banana slugs from consuming the mushroom was also discovered in his studies. Undergraduates are integrally involved in this research. In 1993-4 he was recognized as the Humboldt State University Outstanding Professor for teaching and in 2001-2, the Scholar of the Year for his research.