September 22, 2023

Ruthann Nichols, Ph.D., has retired from active faculty status

Congratulations and best wishes to Ruthann Nichols, Ph.D., who has been named Associate Professor Emerita of Biological Chemistry. Her retirement memoir, adopted by the Regents of the University of Michigan at their September 2023 meeting, is reprinted below.

Retirement Memoir of Ruthann Nichols, Ph.D.

        Ruthann Nichols, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry in the Medical School, retired from active faculty status on August 31, 2023.

        Professor Nichols received her M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1983) degrees from Purdue University. Professor Nichols was an assistant research scientist in biochemistry at Purdue University before accepting a position as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan in 1990. Professor Nichols has held the title of associate professor with tenure in biological chemistry since 1996, as well as an adjunct associate professor in chemistry from 2014–2016 and an adjunct associate professor for the undergraduate teaching program from 2017–2019.

        Professor Nichols’s research focused on RFamide peptides, a group of structurally related brain-gut peptides conserved in all animals. Delineating molecular mechanisms involved in how a peptide impacts human cardiovascular physiology provides the ability to identify target molecules for drug development and therapy. This research resulted in numerous multi-year AHA, NSF, and NIH funded grants, patents covering intellectual property, over 70 peer-reviewed publications and presentations at international meetings, and serving as a visiting professor at the Università degli Studi di Cagliari (Italy) from 1997–2017. A talented teacher, Professor Nichols gave lectures for multiple courses including Biolchem 415/515 (Introduction to Biochemistry) Biolchem 403/503 (Skills of a Scientist), Biolchem 601 (Tools of a Scientist), Biolchem 212 (Nursing Biochemistry), and Chemistry 120 (Science and Wine). In addition, Dr. Nichols served as a mentor for several students who did independent research in biological chemistry (Biolchem 298, 398, and 499) writing research theses and publishing peer-reviewed articles. These students went onto attain advanced degrees at prestigious graduate, law, and medical schools where many of them are on the faculty. Administratively, she participated in multiple departmental committees in biological chemistry and institutional committees for the Medical School, including leading the UM Radiation Policy Committee as chair since 1999. She received the student-nominated University of Michigan Teaching Award in 1994 and the University of Michigan Endowment for Basic Science Teaching Award in 2012.

        The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member by naming Ruthann Nichols, Associate Professor Emerita of Biological Chemistry.