Image of Dr. Elisa M. Woolridge

Contact Information

Academic School

School of Science


Donnelly 235C



(845) 575-3000 ext. 2390

Dr. Elisa M. Woolridge

Associate Professor of Chemistry


Dr. Woolridge joined Marist College in 2002 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Her primary teaching responsibilities have been to Marist’s General Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Research Methods course offerings. Dr. Woolridge was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008, and she served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, & Physics from 2012-2018. Prior to Marist, Dr. Woolridge was a Research Scientist for International Paper Company (1993-2001), where she had the opportunity to develop and optimize process chemistry with particular emphasis on biotechnology applications. Her research aims to understand the mechanism of enzymes responsible for the metabolism of aromatic and carbohydrate polymers, driven by the need to develop enzyme systems for environmentally benign conversion and valorization of lignocellulosics, the world’s largest renewable resource.

Dr. Woolridge is committed to the teacher-scholar model and thus is grateful for the many opportunities at Marist to mentor undergraduate students and observe their progress, both in the laboratory and beyond, as they embark upon careers of their own.


Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, State University of New York at Stony Brook (1990)
B.S., Biochemistry with Departmental Honors, Millersville University of Pennsylvania (1985)

Additional Professional Experiences

“White Biotechnology,” Sabbatical Leave, BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany (2010-2011)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland at College Park (1990-1993)

Research Interests / Areas of Focus

Mechanism and application of enzymes for biomass conversion

Selected Publications

Undergraduate student authors in bold

Badon, M. M.; Tekverk, D. G.; Vishnosky, N. S.; Woolridge, E. M. “Establishing the Oxidative Tolerance of Thermomyces lanuginosus Xylanase,” J. Appl. Microbiol. 2019, 127, 508-519.

Woolridge, E. M. “Mixed Enzyme Systems for Delignification of Lignocellulosic Biomass,” Catalysts 2014, 4, 1-35.

Bendl, R. F.; Kandel, J. M.; Amodeo, K. D.; Ryder, A. M.; Woolridge, E. M. “Characterization of the Oxidative Inactivation of Xylanase by Laccase and a Redox Mediator,” Enzyme Microb. Tech. 2008, 43, 149-156.

Yang, J.; Wang, Y.; Woolridge, E. M.; Arora, V.; Petsko, G. A.; Kozarich, J. W.; Ringe, D. “Crystal Structure of 3-Carboxy-cis,cis-muconate Lactonizing Enzyme from Pseudomonas putida, a Fumarase Class II Type Cycloisomerase: Enzyme Evolution in Parallel Pathways,” Biochemistry 2004, 43, 10424-10434.

Hasson, M. S.; Schlichting, I.; McGowen, M. M.; Woolridge, E. M.; Kozarich, J. W.; Petsko, G. A.; Ringe, D. “Characterization of Two Crystal Forms of 3-Carboxy-cis,cis-muconate Lactonizing Enzyme from Pseudomonas putida,” Acta Crystallogr. 1997, D53, 352-353.

Williams, S. E.; Woolridge, E. M.; Ransom, S. C.; Landro, J. A.; Babbitt, P. C.; Kozarich, J. W. “3-Carboxy-cis,cis-muconate Lactonizing Enzyme (CMLE) from Pseudomonas putida is Homologous to the Class II Fumarase Family: A New Reaction in the Evolution of a Mechanistic Motif,” Biochemistry 1992, 31, 9768-9776.

Woolridge, E. M.; Rokita, S. E. “The Use of 6-(Difluoromethyl)indole to Study the Activation of Indole by Tryptophan Synthase,” Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 1991, 286, 473-480.

Woolridge, E. M.; Rokita, S. E. “6-(Difluoromethyl)tryptophan as a Probe for Substrate Activation during the Catalysis of Tryptophanase,” Biochemistry 1991, 30, 1852-1857.

Woolridge, E. M.; Rokita, S. E. “Synthesis and Reactivity of 6-(Fluoromethyl)indole and 6-(Difluoromethyl)indole,” Tetrahedron Lett. 1989, 30, 6117-6120.

Woolridge, E.; Turchi, S. L.; Edwards, J. R. “The Peroxidase-Glucose Oxidase System in the Undergraduate Laboratory,” Biochem. Educ. 1986, 14, 82-83. Reprinted in Practical Biochemistry for Colleges; Wood, E. J., Ed.; Permagon: New York, 1989; pp 31-32.

Awards and Honors

Marist College, Kilgariff Distinguished Service Award (2020)

Marist College Student Government Association, School of Science Faculty of the Year Award (2007, 2008, and 2021)

“Understanding the Oxidative Inactivation of Laccase and Xylanase toward Design of a Simultaneous Biodelignification System,” Cottrell College Science Award, Research Corporation (2003)

“Investigation of 3-Carboxymuconate Lactonizing Enzyme,” National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health (1991)