Woods began serving as director of the Oriental Institute on July 1, 2017. His research and writings focus on Sumerian language as well as early Mesopotamian religion, literature, mathematics and administration. Woods serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies.
His publications include The Grammar of Perspective: The Sumerian Conjugation Prefixes as a System of Voice and the forthcoming Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon 18. Woods is editor of Visible Language: The Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East and Beyond.