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Brian Woods, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Undergraduate Research Coordinator

Courses Taught

Chem 1110/1130 General Chemistry I Recitations; Chem 1120/1140 General Chemistry II Recitations; Chem2410/2420 Organic Chemistry I and II; Chem2435/2445 Organic Chemistry Lab for Majors


University of Minnesota, Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, 2014
Whitman College, B.A. in Chemistry, 2008

Practice Areas

My background is in the area of synthetic organic chemistry. Taking Organic Chemistry as a sophomore in college is what hooked me on chemistry in the first place. I loved how the class was like putting together pieces of a puzzle and trying to find different pathways to solve difficult problems. And when I started synthetic organic research as an undergraduate I thought it was so cool that you could go into the lab and make a molecule that had never been made before! As a professor, the best part of my job is seeing students appreciate the wonder of organic chemistry in both the classroom and research setting. I teach the large lecture organic chemistry classes and help with the organic labs as well. Organic chemistry often gets labeled as a “weed-out” course, as it is the last required chemistry course for a number of majors. One of my goals in teaching the course is to change that reputation. I make a point to assure all my students that they have the ability to succeed in the course and that it’s my job to help them do just that. I really enjoy introducing students to organic chemistry and helping them practice their critical thinking and problem-solving skills that they will go on and use in whatever career path they choose.

I also believe that a crucial part of an undergraduate STEM education is hands-on research experience. As the undergraduate research coordinator, I help students find a lab to join and get training in some of the state-of-the-art research going on in our department. The skills and training SLU chemistry majors gain in the classroom and the research lab set them up to be independent thinkers and productive members of the workforce once they graduate.

Publications and Media Placements

  • Woods, B. P. “Organic Synthesis: When and Why─An Entrepreneurial-Minded Learning Activity for Organic Chemistry Undergraduates,” J. Chem. Educ. 2024, 101, 2156–2161.
  • Perkins, R. J.; Woods, B. P. “An Office-Space Lightboard Studio for Creating Professional Pre-Lecture Videos with Increased Student Engagement,” J. Chem. Educ. 2023, 100, 3645–3651.