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Biosciences

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Kelly Williams, Ph.D.

Photo of Kelly Williams

Principal Member of the Technical Staff
Systems Biology Department

(925) 294-4730 / kpwilli@sandia.gov

Research Summary

The chromosomally-ordered pan-genome.

Understanding how microbes evolve is crucial for the fields of human health, biofuels, and biosecurity. Genomic/pathogenicity islands (see our website Islander) are key units of bacterial evolution that are mobile, and thus able to move clusters of genes between species. Genes transferred on islands can have major effects on the phenotype of the host bacterium. For example, islands can convert non-pathogens into pathogens, or modulate pathogenicity through combinatorial effects of multiple islands. Upon entering a new host bacterium islands integrate into the host chromosome, tending to favor a limited number of chromosomal sites within tRNA and related genes (see The tmRNA Website). Major goals are to understand mechanisms of island mobility/integration, and the range of island effects on bacterial physiology. Research avenues pursued include comparative genomics, high-throughput sequencing, and phylogenetics.


Appointments

2010 – present Principal Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA
2005 – 2010 Research Investigator, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
1998 – 2005 Assistant Professor of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
1995 – 1998 Postdoctoral Fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (RNA biology, with David Bartel), Cambridge, MA
1992 – 1995 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, National Research Council (RNA evolution, with Glauco Tocchini-Valentini), Rome, Italy
1991 – 1992 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, Salk Institute (catalytic RNA, with Tan Inoue), La Jolla, CA

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Education

1991 PhD, Biology, University of California, San Diego, CA (biochemistry and molecular genetics of bacterial/bacteriophage transcription, with E. Peter Geiduschek)
1983 BA, Environmental Biology, Physiology and Cell Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (Tetrahymena genetics, with Eduardo Orias)
1980 AA, Biology, Pierce College, Woodland Hills, CA (California flora, with Barbara Hopper)

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Publications (see also MyBibliography at NCBI)

2015 – present

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2012 – 2014

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2010 – 2011

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2008 – 2009

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2004 – 2007

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2000 – 2003

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1996 – 1999

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1993 – 1995

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1987 – 1992

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