Reader and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist
Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology
King’s College London
London, United Kingdom
Dr Williams qualified from Imperial College London (St Mary’s Hospital) in 1992 and trained as a Rheumatologist, awarded specialist certification in 2004. She obtained her PhD in the lab in 2001 and gradually switched to genetic epidemiology. Awarded a Wellcome Trust fellowship in 2007, she has developed broad research interests into the genetic epidemiology of a number of common complex age-related traits such as intervertebral disc degeneration, age-related hearing impairment and stroke.
Her main focus within degenerative musculoskeletal diseases and chronic pain and has adopted a number of novel approaches to understanding the genetic and epigenetic factors underlying chronic pain. These include the first GWAS meta-analysis using 4 different cohorts and rare variant analysis of subjects at the extremes of heat pain sensitivity. She is currently working on spine curve, vertebral endplate changes, Schmorl nodes and chronic pain modelling. FW collaborates with research groups internationally and with industry and believes that the future of complex trait genetics in this field lies in large scale sharing of data. This will necessitate working towards the international standardisation of phenotypes enabling sharing and comparing of data to make inferences about epi/genetic variants and their role in complex traits.