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Charles H. Williams, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

Vanderbilt University, 2007 BS

Vanderbilt University, 2016 PhD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2017 Post Doc


Dr. Charles (Chuck) Williams is a basic scientist whose research centers around chemical genetics of vertebrate development and early drug discovery. His research functions at the intersection of developmental biology, chemical biology, computational biology, and personalized medicine. Dr. Williams' work includes innovative chemical biologic approaches to study embryonic development as well as developing resources to facilitate academic drug discovery.

His research has made contributions to the emerging field of chemical genetics through the discovery of chemical modulators of several key developmental pathways, including the Eggmanone, a small molecule inhibitor of the Hedgehog pathway. This work revealed novel biological insights and new therapeutic opportunities for tageting cancers downstream of the Smoothened receptor which is responsible for the clinical problem of acquired smoothened resistance in medulloblastoma.  In addition, Dr. Williams edited a book covering the latest methods and protocols in chemical biology. 

Dr. Williams received a PhD in cell and developmental biology from the Vanderbilt University, where he also recieved his BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Phenotypic screens, chemical biology, zebrafish

Highlighted Publications

Durbin MD, Cadar AG, Williams CH, Guo Y, Bichell DP, Su YR, Hong CC.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Sequencing Reveals a Novel NOTCH1 Mutation in a
Family with Single Ventricle Defects. Pediatr Cardiol. 2017 Aug;38(6):1232-1240.
doi: 10.1007/s00246-017-1650-5. Epub 2017 Jun 12. PubMed PMID: 28608148; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC5577922.

Williams CH, Hong CC. Zebrafish small molecule screens: Taking the phenotypic
plunge. Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2016 Sep 18;14:350-356. eCollection 2016.
Review. PubMed PMID: 27721960; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5050293.

Herington JL, Swale DR, Brown N, Shelton EL, Choi H, Williams CH, Hong CC,
Paria BC, Denton JS, Reese J. High-Throughput Screening of Myometrial
Calcium-Mobilization to Identify Modulators of Uterine Contractility. PLoS One.
2015 Nov 24;10(11):e0143243. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143243. eCollection 2015.
PubMed PMID: 26600013; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4658040.

Feaster TK, Cadar AG, Wang L, Williams CH, Chun YW, Hempel JE, Bloodworth N,
Merryman WD, Lim CC, Wu JC, Knollmann BC, Hong CC. Matrigel Mattress: A Method
for the Generation of Single Contracting Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem
Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes. Circ Res. 2015 Dec 4;117(12):995-1000. doi:
10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.307580. Epub 2015 Oct 1. PubMed PMID: 26429802; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC4670592.

Chun YW, Balikov DA, Feaster TK, Williams CH, Sheng CC, Lee JB, Boire TC,
Neely MD, Bellan LM, Ess KC, Bowman AB, Sung HJ, Hong CC. Combinatorial polymer
matrices enhance in vitro maturation of human induced pluripotent stem
cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Biomaterials. 2015 Oct;67:52-64. doi:
10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.07.004. Epub 2015 Jul 14. PubMed PMID: 26204225;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4550551.

Williams CH, Hempel JE, Hao J, Frist AY, Williams MM, Fleming JT, Sulikowski
GA, Cooper MK, Chiang C, Hong CC. An in vivo chemical genetic screen identifies
phosphodiesterase 4 as a pharmacological target for hedgehog signaling
inhibition. Cell Rep. 2015 Apr 7;11(1):43-50. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.03.001.
Epub 2015 Mar 26. PubMed PMID: 25818300; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4394042.