Dean Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell and Mottier Family Professor Jeff Woods
AHS Dean Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell congratulates Dr. Jeff Woods on becoming the first Mottier Family Professor

Jeff Woods Named First Mottier Family Professor

Dr. Jeff Woods, internationally renowned scholar in the area of exercise physiology, was named the first Mottier Family Professor of Applied Health Sciences in an investiture ceremony in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on October 28.

Dr. Woods is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, Director of the Center on Health, Aging, and Disability, and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Applied Health Sciences. His research focuses on the effects of exercise on the immune system, the gut microbiome, and aging. He was among the first scholars to demonstrate that regular exercise can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and showed that exercise can improve the response to the flu vaccine in adults. He was the first to show that exercise, independent of diet, can affect the gut microbiome.

The author of more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, Dr. Woods is a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology and the American College of Sports Medicine. He completed his Ph.D. in Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina.

Among the many people he thanked in accepting his professorship were his AHS colleagues, who, he said, “…guide and challenge me and make this an inspiring place to work.”

The professorship was made possible through an estate gift of Charles and Audrey Phyllis Mottier, both of whom graduated from the University of Illinois. She completed her undergraduate degree in Physical Education for Women and had a lifelong interest in links between exercise, movement, and health. Sons Chip and Brad Mottier said they were excited to see their mother’s wish fulfilled.

“She believed participation was the height of enjoyment,” Chip said. Audrey Phyllis and Charles both lived life to the fullest, Brad added, and believed in making each day a little above average.

A video of the event can be found at this page.

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