Erik Woods

Ossium Health, Indiana University School of Medicine
United States of America

Erik joined the Society for Cryobiology in 1995 and was elected to Fellow in 2020.

Following undergraduate studies in Biology and Classics at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, Dr. Woods performed his graduate work at the Cryobiology Research Institute (CRI) under Dr. John Critser, earning a PhD through the Hillenbrand Center for Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN developing methods for cryopreservation of encapsulated human and canine pancreatic islets.  While at the CRI he worked across fields as well studying reproductive and hematologic system cryobiology.  He then completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, IN, focusing on enhanced methods of umbilical cord blood stem cell isolation and cryopreservation. 

Dr. Woods has devoted his career to advancing cell culture and cryopreservation to facilitate mainstream clinical use of cellular therapies, first co-founding a company in 1997 which he led for 15 years through successful acquisition by COOK Medical in 2012.  There he launched the first client depositor sperm bank in Indiana and developed a contract cell production and banking service with contracts across multiple countries.  He is currently Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Ossium Health, a company developing the first cryopreserved bone marrow bank from deceased organ and tissue donors and serves as the Laboratory Director of the Ossium Health Testing Laboratory, which is the CLIA certified testing group for Ossium production.  He is also Adjunct Faculty in Medical and Molecular Genetics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he has held an adjunct position since 2003, and Adjunct Faculty at the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Dr. Woods has focused his research on key cryopreservation optimization strategies that are fit for scientific and regulatory scrutiny to achieve sustained clinical impact.  He has generated multiple lines of technology related to cryopreservation, resulting in numerous patents, publications, and grants.  During his career in industry, he has balanced the need to maintain intellectual property protection and generate revenue with the goal of disseminating knowledge through publications and presentations.  As an applied scientist who has spent a career producing various cells and cryopreserving them for use, the key metric that has dictated success has been functional post-thaw survival.  In both the reproductive and stem cell manufacturing fields, he has won market share by leveraging new technologies to produce better post-thaw outcomes.  Technologies that were acquired through his original businesses have yielded successful product lines and are currently used around the world.  Clinical material he has banked over his career is being used every day for fertility purposes and for stem cell therapies. 

 Services to the Society
Dr. Woods has been a member of the Society for Cryobiology since 1995 and has been active since joining as a student.  He has continuously served as a Director or Officer for the past 15 years, first on the Board of Governors (2005-2011), during which time he also served as Chair of the Student Awards Committee (2008-2011), then as President-Elect (2012-2013), President and Chair of the Executive Committee (2014-2015), Past President (2016-2017), and again as a member of the Board of Governors (2018-2020). 

Scientific Offspring
While primarily engaged in industry, Dr. Woods has been committed to supporting the development of students and young investigators in Cryobiology and has formed long-term relationships with the students he has interacted with.  He has supported other investigator’s students both directly through funding and as an external advisor.  As an adjunct at the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, he recently established a Master of Science program where competitive students can complete their thesis at Ossium focused on cryobiology.  These students are active in the Society, receiving travel awards and presenting their work, and several have become leaders within the Ossium Health organization. Several offspring from Dr. Woods’ original company have also gone on to very successful careers in the space, starting their own companies and/or rising to high leadership roles in existing companies. 

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