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William "Bill" Wold, Ph.D.: 1944-2021

by Maggie Rotermund on 06/21/2021
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Maggie Rotermund
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William “Bill” Sydney Martin Wold, Ph.D., professor and former department chair in molecular microbiology and immunology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, died June 14, 2021. He was 77.

Wold joined the University in 1973 and was scheduled to retire in August. His research focused on treatments and potential cures for cancer. 

William Wold, Ph.D.
William "Bill" Wold, Ph.D.

He was born Feb. 12, 1944, in Manitoba, Canada. Wold attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg for his bachelor’s degree. He also earned master’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology from the University.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1973, Wold came to Saint Louis University as a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Molecular Virology under Maurice Green, Ph.D.

He noted in 2003 that there is “a long tradition of adenovirus research at Saint Louis University School of Medicine dating back to the 1950s, and it can be argued that SLU is the birthplace of adenovirus molecular virology.”

Wold worked his way up from instructor to professor to chairman of what became, under his leadership, the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.

Building on a tradition of adenovirus molecular virology at SLU, Wold’s laboratory participated in the discovery of a new class of viral proteins that orchestrate the life and death of adenovirus-infected human cells.

Wold studied the molecular aspects of human adenovirus replication for four decades. Adenoviruses are one of the premier model systems to study the molecular and cellular biology of human cells. 

In other research, Wold’s lab developed the Syrian hamster as a unique animal model to study the pathogenesis of human adenoviruses and to evaluate the efficacy of drugs to treat adenovirus infections.

Duane Grandgenett, Ph.D., professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, said he first met Wold in 1974 when he arrived at SLU.

“To me, one of Bill’s most outstanding traits was to always try his best - from taking care of his family, to doing his science, to especially helping students, postdoctoral fellows and other faculty members, to being a sport man particularly as a long-distance runner and for sure, as an outstanding chairman,” Grandgenett said. “He made a big difference with his many contributions to humanity.”

Wold was named a Fellow of the Academy of Science of St. Louis in 2002. He also was a member of the American Society for Microbiology, American Society for Virology and the American Society for the Advancement of Science.

Wold is survived by his wife of 53 years, Susan (Lees) Wold; children Lora Wold (Robb Hellwig), Guy Wold, Jessica Wold (Andreas Bieri) and Jonathan Wold; grandchildren Madeline Hellwig, Sydney Hellwig, Niko Wold and Syrsha Wold. He was preceded in death by parents Roy and Nellie Wold and brother Larry.

Full Obituary

Memorial services are being planned for August, his anticipated retirement date from SLU.