Scott Williams, PhD

Professor
Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences
School of Medicine
Professor
Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences
School of Medicine

Dr. Scott M. Williams is an internationally recognized population geneticist, known for his work in global human genetic diversity. He is an expert in the genetics of complex human disease, including the genetic risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and susceptibility to infection, including malaria, tuberculosis, and infection-related cancers such as gastric cancer.  Dr. Williams studies how genes, either singly or in interaction with the environment and/or other genes, affect disease risk in different populations. He also has been involved in developing novel statistical analyses for genetic susceptibility to disease. 

Dr. Williams has extensive experience in graduate education, having developed PhD programs at Vanderbilt University and Dartmouth University, before joining the PQHS team, where he directs the PhD program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Teaching Information

Courses Taught

Integrated Thinking in Population and Quantitative Health Sciences I
Integrated Thinking in Population and Quantitative Health Sciences II
A Data Driven Introduction to Genomics and Human Health
Nobel Laureate Class Discussion

Research Information

Research Interests

Williams is an expert in the genetics of complex human disease, including the genetic risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and susceptibility to infection. An experienced population geneticist, he studies how genes, either singly or in interactions with the environment, affect disease risk in different populations.

He has also been actively involved in developing statistical analyses for genetic susceptibility to disease, including colorectal and gastric cancers. He has studied the role of genetic factors for multiple infectious diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis. His work on TB has focused on resistance to TB in HIV positive individuals. Dr. Williams also has assessed the role of environmental changes in cardiovascular risk factors in West African populations.

Awards and Honors

Fellow
2012
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professional Memberships

African Society of Human Genetics, Founding Member and Executive Committee Member
Preterm Birth International Collaborative, Chair North American Branch
International Congress of Human Genetics, Organizing Committee
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow
American Society of Human Genetics

Publications

  1. Musanabaganwa, C, Mihigo, B, Tumusime, R, Uwanyirigira, M, da Rocha, J, Hayat, M, Govender, M, Buto, P, Nyunga, T, Ramesar, RS, Rotimi, C, Souopgui, J, Wonkam, A, Williams, SM, Jansen, S, Ramsay, M, Mutesa, L. Building Skills and Resources for Genomics, Epigenetics, and Bioinformatics Research for Africa: Report of the Joint 11th Conference of the African Society of Human Genetics and 12th H3Africa Consortium, 2018. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2020; : . PubMed PMID:32207403 .
  2. El-Kamah, GY, Mohamed, AM, Gad, YZ, Abdelhak, S, Hennig, BJ, Ramesar, RS, Landouré, G, Gaye, A, Newport, MJ, Williams, SM, Ramsay, M. Developing a Road Map to Spread Genomic Knowledge in Africa: 10th Conference of the African Society of Human Genetics, Cairo, Egypt. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2020; 102 (4): 719-723. PubMed PMID:32124726 PubMed Central PMC7124895.
  3. McHenry, ML, Williams, SM, Stein, CM. Genetics and evolution of tuberculosis pathogenesis: New perspectives and approaches. Infect. Genet. Evol. 2020; 81 : 104204. PubMed PMID:31981609 .
  4. Barsh, GS, Cooper, GM, Copenhaver, GP, Sirugo, G, Tang, H, Williams, SM. Evaluating the strength of genetic results: Risks and responsibilities. PLoS Genet. 2019; 15 (10): e1008437. PubMed PMID:31603891 PubMed Central PMC6788678.
  5. Dominguez, RL, Cherry, CB, Estevez-Ordonez, D, Mera, R, Escamilla, V, Pawlita, M, Waterboer, T, Wilson, KT, Peek, RM, Tavera, G, Williams, SM, Gulley, ML, Emch, M, Morgan, DR. Geospatial analyses identify regional hot spots of diffuse gastric cancer in rural Central America. BMC Cancer 2019; 19 (1): 545. PubMed PMID:31174492 PubMed Central PMC6554991.
  6. Manduchi, E, Hemerich, D, van Setten, J, Tragante, V, Harakalova, M, Pei, J, Williams, SM, van der Harst, P, Asselbergs, FW, Moore, JH. A comparison of two workflows for regulome and transcriptome-based prioritization of genetic variants associated with myocardial mass. Genet. Epidemiol. 2019; 43 (6): 717-726. PubMed PMID:31145509 PubMed Central PMC6687530.
  7. Ciesielski, TH, Bartlett, J, Williams, SM. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake norms and preterm birth rate: a cross-sectional analysis of 184 countries. BMJ Open 2019; 9 (4): e027249. PubMed PMID:31005937 PubMed Central PMC6527982.
  8. Sirugo, G, Williams, SM, Tishkoff, SA, Cordell, HJ, Marchini, J, Barsh, GS, Copenhaver, GP. The Plight of Muntaser Ibrahim. PLoS Genet. 2019; 15 (3): e1008100. PubMed PMID:30908486 PubMed Central PMC6433285.
  9. Sirugo, G, Williams, SM, Tishkoff, SA. The Missing Diversity in Human Genetic Studies. Cell 2019; 177 (1): 26-31. PubMed PMID:30901543 .
  10. Moore, JH, Mackay, TFC, Williams, SM. Testing the assumptions of parametric linear models: the need for biological data mining in disciplines such as human genetics. BioData Min 2019; 12 : 6. PubMed PMID:30792817 PubMed Central PMC6371539.

Publishing impact 

Metrics from Web of Science/publons and Scopus/SciVal: 

  • H-index: 47
  • Total publications: 265
  • Total citations:  9,708
  • Publications in top-tier journals: 50% 
  • Collaborative publishing national/international: 60%/40%

Editorial roles:

  • PLOS Genetics, section editor
  • Current Genetics Medicine Reports, section editor

Education

Ph.D.
Washington University
1981
BA
University of Chicago
1976

Additional Information

Professional Service:

  • Section Editor, Natural Variation, PLoS Genetics, 2011-present
  • Section Editor, Genomics, Current Genetic Medicine Reports, 2012-present
  • Member Executive Committee, African Society of Human Genetics, 2013-present
  • Program Committee, Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing: Precision Medicine 2016

Contributions to science:

  • Analysis of complex human diseases, including developing methods that incorporate gene-gene and gene-environment interaction in the study of disease
  • Genetics of human infectious disease, with a focus on the role of genetic susceptibility in conferring risk and protection from disease
  • Genetics of health disparities, focusing on defining variable patterns of disease association as well as variation in frequency of risk alleles among populations with historic health disparities 
  • Patterns of human evolution and genetic variation, to better assess how evolutionary histories affect risk of disease

Active grants:

  • NIH/NHLBI U01: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of acute lung injury in sickle cell disease
  • NIH/NHLBI P01: Molecular mechanisms in salt sensitivity of blood pressure
  • NIH/NCI 5P01: Etiology studies of gastric carcinoma
  • NIH/NHGRI R13: African Society of Human Genetics Conference
  • NIH/NIAID R56: Genetics of TB resistance in HIV positive subjects

Student and mentee totals, over Case Western Reserve University career/full academic career:

  • Master’s mentees: 4/12      
  • PhD mentees: 4/19
  • PhD committee: 5/36