Biography and Research Focus
Kevin Williams, PhD, is the current Merck Professor in Integrated Biosciences at NCCU. He joined BRITE at NCCU in 2007 as an associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 2018. Prior to joining NCCU, Dr. Williams spent 15 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, including 6 years at Biogen, and he has continued to have a strong interest in workforce development.
Since joining NCCU, he has been continually funded, including through grants from NIH, DoD, Susan G. Komen and NIIMBL. Dr. Williams is a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC and an associate member of the Duke Cancer Institute. His laboratory investigates:
- Hedgehog pathway dysregulation in cancer
- Pharmacologic profiling of cancer cells
- The identification and development of novel hedgehog pathway inhibitors
- The role of the hedgehog pathway in alcohol-induced birth defects
The hedgehog (Hh) family of morphogens is critical for embryonic development and in the development of a number of adult tissues. Dysregulation of Hh signaling has been implicated in disease, with the pathway driving growth in a number of cancers through multiple mechanisms including but not limited to Hh overexpression, mutational inactivation of Ptc, mutational activation of Smo and overexpression of GLI transcription factors. The laboratory of Dr. Williams is interested in developing new therapeutics targeting the Hh pathway. His lab is also studying genes that confer susceptibility to alcohol-induced birth defects, with a focus on the Hedgehog pathway.
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K.
B.Sc., Biochemistry (upper second-class honors)
University of Bath, Bath, U.K.
Selected Recent Publications
- Gieira S. Jones; Katherine A Hoadley; Halei C Benefield; Linnea T Olsson; Alina M Hamilton; Arjun Bhattacharya; Erin L Kirk; Heather J Tipaldos; Jodie M. Fleming; Kevin P Williams; Michael I Love; Hazel B Nichols; Andrew F Olshan; Melissa A Troester (2022) Racial Differences in Breast Cancer Outcomes by Hepatocyte Growth Factor Pathway Expression. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (2022 Jan 16, Online ahead of print).
- Derek F. Burton, Oswald M. Boa-Amponsem, Maria S. Dixon, Michael J. Hopkins, Te-Andre Herbin, Shiquita Toney, Michael Tarpley, Blanca V. Rodriguez, Eric W. Fish, Scott E. Parnell, Gregory J. Cole, & Kevin P. Williams (2022) Pharmacological activation of the Sonic hedgehog pathway with a Smoothened small molecule agonist ameliorates the severity of alcohol-induced morphological and behavioral birth defects in a zebrafish model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Journal of Neuroscience Research (2022 Jan 11, Online ahead of print).
- R. Jagsi, G. Mason, B.A. Overmoyer, W.A. Woodward, S. Badve, R.J. Schneider, J.E. Lang, M. Alpaugh, K. P. Williams, D. Vaught, A. Smith, K. Smith, K.D. Miller, Susan G. Komen-IBCRF IBC Collaborative in partnership with the Milburn Foundation (2022) Inflammatory Breast Cancer Defined: Proposed Common Diagnostic Criteria to Guide Treatment and Research. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (2022 Jan 1, Online ahead of print).
- Michael Tarpley, Helen O. Oladapo, Dillon Strepay, Thomas B. Caligan, Lhoucine Chdid Hassan Shehata, Jose R. Roques, Rhashad Thomas, Christopher P. Laudeman, Rob U. Onyenwoke, David B. Darr and Kevin P. Williams (2021) Identification of harmine and β-carboline analogs from a high-throughput screen of an approved drug collection; profiling as differential inhibitors of DYRK1A and monoamine oxidase A and for in vitro and in vivo anti-cancer studies. Eur J Pharm Sci 162:105821.
- Lamson D, Hughes M, Adcock A, Smith GR, and Williams KP (2021) Development and validation of a hedgehog heparin-binding assay for high-throughput screening. MethodsX. 8, 101207. doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2020.101207.
- Oldham, C., Gathings, M., Devi, G., Patierno, S., Williams, K., Hough, H., & Barrett, N. (2020). An Innovative Educational Program for Addressing Health Disparities in Translational Cancer Research. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1-20. (Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 Nov 2020, doi:10.1017/cts.2020.555)
- Xiaojia Ji, Chunming Jin, Xialan Dong, Maria S Dixon, Kevin P Williams, Weifan Zheng (2020) Literature-Wide Association Studies (LWAS) for a Rare Disease: Drug Repurposing for Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Molecules. 25(17):E3933. doi:10.3390/molecules25173933.
- Boa-Amponsem O, Zhang C, Burton D, Williams KP and Cole GJ (2020) Ethanol and cannabinoids regulate zebrafish GABAergic neuron development and behavior in a sonic hedgehog and fibroblast growth factor dependent mechanism. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (2020 May 29. doi: 10.1111/acer.14383. Online ahead of print).
- Ahmad, Syed; He, Qingping; Williams, Kevin; Scott, John (2020) Identification of a triple drug combination that is synergistically cytotoxic for triple-negative breast cancer cells using a novel combination discovery approach. SLAS Discovery. 2020 May 22; doi: 10.1177/2472555220924478. Online ahead of print.
- Fish EW, Murdaugh LB, Zhang C Boschen KE, Boa-Amponsem O, Haley N. Mendoza-Romero N, Tarpley M, Chdid L, Mukhopadhyay S2, Cole GJ, Williams KP and Scott E. Parnell (2019) Cannabinoids Exacerbate Alcohol Teratogenesis by a CB1-Hedgehog Interaction. Scientific Reports 9, 16057. 2019 Nov 5;9(1):16057.
- Devi GR, Hough H, Barrett N, Cristofanilli M, Overmoyer B, Spector N, Ueno N, Woodward W, Kirkpatrick J, Vincent B, Williams KP, Finley C, Duff B, Worthy V, McCall S, Hollister BA, Palmer G, Force J, Westbrook K, Fayanju O, Suneja G, Hwang ES, Patierno SR, Marcom PK (2019) Perspectives on Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Research, Clinical Management and Community Engagement from the Duke IBC Consortium Inaugural Conference. J Cancer; 10:3344-3351. 2019 Jun 4;10(15):3344-3351.
NIH/NIHMD R01 MD017405-01 (Kimbro, K [PI], Williams, KP [MPI], Navarro, H [MPI]), 9/20/2021–05/31/2026.
Project: “Addressing the Biology of Health Disparities by Targeting Geographical Ancestry-Driven Variants of Immunity."
NIH/NCI R15CA223994 (MPI: Taylor D and Williams KP), 02/2019–01/2022.
Project: “Engineering Novel Methods to Study Metastases and Reduce Systemic Treatment Toxicity in Breast Cancer Patients."
U54MD012392 (PI: Kumar D), 07/01/2017–06/30/2022. NIH/NIMHD RCMI Center for Health Disparities Research.
The Center will conduct cutting-edge research for addressing health disparities. The Center will enhance the research capacity of NCCU within the areas of basic biomedical and behavioral research by conducting innovative and significant research projects; it will also develop a strong research infrastructure core and community engagement core where investigators will have access to the tools for basic/biomedical and behavioral sciences. Role: Co-Project Leader, Research Infrastructure Core.