Scott M. Williams, PhD


Director, Epidemiology & Biostatistics Graduate Studies Program | 216.368.5659 | Wolstein Research Bldg. 6129


Ph.D. Washington University, St. Louis, 1981

BA, University of Chicago, 1976


2012 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

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

Research Interests

Scott M. Williams, PhD, is a professor and director of the Epidemiology & Biostatistics graduate studies program in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences. He also is a professor with the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences. Both departments are part of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

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.

Williams has extensive experience in graduate education, having developed the PhD program in human genetics at Vanderbilt University and served as program director of other institutions’ PhD programs.

Williams received his PhD in biology from Washington University, St. Louis, in 1981 and his BA in political science from the University of Chicago in 1976. Before coming to Case Western Reserve University, he was a professor in the Department of Genetics, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, where he served as founding director of the Center for Integrative Biomedical Sciences and associate director of the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences.

Williams currently serves as an editor of PLoS Genetics and Current Genetic Medical Reports, and is a member of the executive committee of the African Society of Human Genetics.

He has published more than 250 papers addressing issues of disease risk, disparity, genetic differentiation, and methods to address these from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

Recent 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: Meeting Report: 10th Conference of the African Society of Human Genetics, Cairo, Egypt. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2020; : . PubMed PMID:32124726 .
  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.
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