Jeffrey A Woods

Jeffrey A Woods
Jeffrey A Woods
Course Director, Musculoskeletal
Carle Illinois College of Medicine
Biomedical and Translational Sciences
(217) 244-8815
348 Freer Hall

For More Information


  • Post-doctoral Fellow, 1994, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Minneapolis
  • Ph.D., 1992, University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • M.S., 1988, Springfield College, Massachusetts
  • B.S., 1984, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Research Interests

  • The broad goal of our research program is to generate a public health message regarding the effects of exercise and targeted dietary supplementation on immune function and susceptibility to disease. The current belief is that moderate exercise enhances immune function, whereas intense, prolonged exercise suppresses it. Specifically, our experiments are designed to (1) describe the effects of different doses of exercise on immune functioning, (2) determine the mechanisms responsible for exercise-induced changes in immunity, (3) define the physiological significance of exercise-induced changes in immunity in relation to disease susceptibility and progression (inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, obesity related comorbidities and infection), and (4) explore the use of appropriate forms of exercise as adjunct therapy for those with deranged immune systems (e.g. elderly, obese). We use both human and animal models in our research. We have found that exercise can protect mice from death due to influenza, speed wound healing, and reduce inflammation and blood vessel density in growing tumors and attenuate colitis. We have shown that regular exercise can improve immune responses to vaccination in older adults. We believe that exercise improves health by reducing acute and chronic inflammation. We explore the additive and synergistic effects of exercise and targeted dietary supplementation on age-related inflammation and cognitive dysfunction in aging. Our recent focus has been on the effects of exercise on the gut microbiome and its role in mediating the beneficial effects of exercise. Our laboratory is fully equipped with state-of-the-art tissue culture facilities, equipment for biochemical measurements, animal telemetry, molecular biology and clinical exercise and body composition testing. We enjoy collaborations with investigators in diverse fields such as veterinary medicine, psychology, molecular virology, immunology, animal sciences as well as kinesiology. Jeff Woods joined UIUC's faculty in 1994 and is currently a Full Professor. We are always seeking bright, motivated graduate or undergraduate students to join our lab.

Other Publications

  • Cook MD, Martin SA, Williams C, Whitlock K, Wallig MA, Pence BA, Woods JA*. Forced treadmill running exacerbates inflammation and causes mortality while voluntary wheel training is protective in a mouse model of colitis. Brain Behav Immun 33: 46-56, 2013. 58 citations. PMID 23707215.
  • Gibbons TE, Pence BD, Petr G, Ossyra JM, Mach HC, Battacharya TK, Perez S, Martin SA, McCusker RH, Kelley KW, Rhodes JS, Johnson RW, Woods JA*. Voluntary wheel running, but not a diet containing (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate and -alanine, improves learning, memory and hippocampal neurogenesis in aged mice. Behav Brain Res 272: 131-140, 2014. 41 citations. PMID: 25004447
  • Allen JM, Mailing LJ, Moore R, Cook MD, White BA, Holscher HD, Woods JA*. Exercise alters gut microbiota composition and function in lean and obese humans. Med Sci Spt Exerc, 50 (4): 747-757, 2018. 24 citations. PMID: 29166320
  • Matt SM, Allen JM, Lawson MA, Mailing LJ, Woods JA, Johnson RW. Butyrate and dietary soluble fiber improve neuroinflammation associated with aging in mice. Front Immunol, 9; 1832, 2018. PMID: 3015478
  • Mailing LJ, Allen JM, Buford TW, Fields CJ, Woods JA*. Exercise and the gut microbiome: A review of the evidence, potential mechanisms, and implications for human health. Exerc Spt Sci Rev, 47(2): 75-85, 2019. PMID: 30883471

Recent Courses Taught

  • AHS 399 - Health, Aging and Dis Ind Proj
  • NUTR 590 - Introduction to Gut-Brain Axis