Dr. Williams research program focuses on understanding intestinal injury response/repair programs with the goal of determining how these epithelial integrity programs are perturbed in the pathogenesis of IBD and progression to malignancy with the long-term objective to identify novel therapeutic targets or biomarkers. The research activities span the basic to translational spectrum. There are three major research programs within the lab:
1) Epigenetic control of intestinal epithelial wound healing programs and relationship to colorectal oncogenesis.
The research group is studying the role of the Myeloid Translocation Gene (MTGs) family in intestinal biology with emphasis on gut development, stem cell function, wound healing and malignancy. The MTGs are a gene family originally identified as targets of chromosomal translocation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), thus the group is able to leverage discoveries describing MTG function in benign and malignant hematopoiesis with their function in regulating intestinal wound responses.
2) Junctional signaling in mucosal wound healing responses and inflammatory carcinogenesis.
The research group focuses on understanding the role of Tight Junction signaling in transducing extracellular signals in the setting of intestinal injury and malignant degeneration.
3) Oxidative injury defenses in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and colitis associated carcinoma (CAC).