Winner Profile: Michael Woodside

BSC Fellow Profile

Michael Woodside

2023 Award Recipient

Michael Woodside is a Professor of Physics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He obtained Physics Specialist and Music Major degrees from the University of Toronto, followed by a PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley, where he studied electron transport in nanostructures with scanned probe microscopy. He trained in single-molecule biophysics during a postdoc in the Biology Department at Stanford University before moving to Edmonton in 2006.

His research interests cover the intersection of physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine, centering on how individual biomolecules like proteins, DNA, and RNA self-assemble into complex structures. His work focusese on three themes: the fundamental physics of folding reactions, the relationship between folding and function in viral RNAs, and protein misfolding that causes disease.

His work has led to new methods for measuring the energy landscapes that govern folding, insights into how viral RNA pseudoknots stimulate programmed ribosomal frameshifting, the first direct observation of misfolding in the proteins that cause “mad-cow” disease and ALS, and new approaches to probing the mechanism of action of drugs at the single-molecule level.

Dr. Woodside is a member of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology at the University of Alberta, as well as the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases.