David A. Williams, M.D.

David A. Williams, M.D.

Boston Children's Hospital
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
David A Williams May 2017 photo

An internationally renowned researcher, Dr. Williams' work focuses on blood stem cell biology, leukemia, and gene therapy to correct genetic blood disorders.

The Williams lab investigates the biology of hematopoietic stem cells, focusing on analysis of the function of members of the Rho GTPase family. They have demonstrated that Rac GTPases are key regulators of the engraftment and mobilization functions of hematopoietic stem cells.

Research in the Williams lab has focused on understanding the interaction of hematopoietic stem cells with the bone marrow and abnormalities of these interactions, which are associated with leukemia. These basic studies contribute to our translational research focus that utilizes hematopoietic stem cells as a target for gene therapy manipulations.

We believe these studies will lead to the development of more effective therapies for patients.


David A. Williams, M.D. is Leland Fikes Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children's Hospital, and Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer at Boston Children's Hospital.

Wiliams has won numerous prestigious awards for his research, including: the E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics; the William Dameshek Award of the American Society of Hematology; the Samuel Rosenthal Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics; the Frank Oski Award of the Society of Hematology; the Donald Metcalf Award from the International Society of Experimental Hematology. He is the recipient of the American Society of Gene and cell Therapy’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his work in gene therapy in 2012. Williams is has recently served on the Joint Oversight Committee of the Translational Research Training in Hematology program of the American Society of Hematology/European Hematology Association. He is also a councilor for the American Society of Hematology. Williams was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator for 16 years, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His laboratory has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1986.

Williams originally trained in hematology/oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. During his fellowship research at the MIT Cancer Center and the Whitehead Institute, he developed techniques that allowed for the introduction of genes into murine and human hematopoietic cells. Those techniques are still commonly utilized today. Prior to rejoining Children’s in December 2007, he was at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) where he was founding director of the Division of Experimental Hematology, attending physician in Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics, and associate chair for Translational Research.

Williams has multiple patents, several of which have been licensed to pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms.

David Williams has mentored over 40 post-doctoral fellows, most of whom continue in academic careers with laboratories of their own. Several trainees are now in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

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