Prof. Tom Williams


Prof. Tom Williams

Principal Investigator

Research group:


Tom is Professor of Haemoglobinopathy Research at Imperial College, London. Tom has worked in Kilifi since May 2000, where he now directs a programme of human genetic research with a focus on polymorphisms of the red blood cell. He obtained his medical degree at Westminster Medical School in the University of London in 1985 and subsequently trained in Paediatrics and Tropical Medicine at a range of London hospitals including Westminster Children’s Hospital, University College, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Imperial College. He obtained his PhD on the genetics of malaria resistance in children, from the University of London in 1999. He has published extensively on the burden and clinical consequences of red cell genetic disorders and their relationship with malaria protection, questions which he studies using both laboratory-based and epidemiological approaches.


Professor Williams’ current Wellcome Senior Fellowship is focused on the mechanisms of protection and the wider health impacts of a range of malaria-associated red cell genetic polymorphisms. His lab are conducting in-vitro studies of the structure and functional biology of red cell traits including the glycophorin related Dantu red cell antigen, ATP2B4 and other classic malaria protective traits along with epidemiological studies of the same. In the area of sickle cell disease, Tom is responsible for the oversight of the paediatric sickle cell disease clinic in Kilifi that has a more than a thousand registered patients, many of whom are involved in a range of various clinical research studies including the REACH trial of hydroxyurea. In addition to his personal research, Tom is the current Chair of the Epidemiology and Demography Department which underpins much of the research within the Programme, and is closely involved in the development of research capacity at our sister site in Mbale, Eastern Uganda.

Bacteraemia in Kenyan children with sickle-cell anaemia: a retrospective cohort and case-control study

Williams, T. N., Uyoga, S., Macharia, A., Ndila, C., McAuley, C. F., Opi, D. H., Mwarumba, S., Makani, J., Komba, A., Ndiritu, M. N., Sharif, S. K., Marsh, K., Berkley, J. A., Scott, J. A.

Lancet. 2009; : 1364-70

High mortality from Plasmodium falciparum malaria in children living with sickle cell anemia on the coast of Kenya

McAuley, C. F., Webb, C., Makani, J., Macharia, A., Uyoga, S., Opi, D. H., Ndila, C., Ngatia, A., Scott, J. A., Marsh, K., Williams, T. N.

Blood. 2010; : 1663-8

The effect of alpha+-thalassaemia on the incidence of malaria and other diseases in children living on the coast of Kenya

Wambua, S., Mwangi, T. W., Kortok, M., Uyoga, S. M., Macharia, A. W., Mwacharo, J. K., Weatherall, D. J., Snow, R. W., Marsh, K., Williams, T. N.

PLoS Med. 2006; : e158

Negative epistasis between the malaria-protective effects of alpha+-thalassemia and the sickle cell trait

Williams, T. N., Mwangi, T. W., Wambua, S., Peto, T. E., Weatherall, D. J., Gupta, S., Recker, M., Penman, B. S., Uyoga, S., Macharia, A., Mwacharo, J. K., Snow, R. W., Marsh, K.

Nat Genet. 2005; : 1253-7

Malaria as a cause of morbidity and mortality in children with homozygous sickle cell disease on the coast of Kenya

Komba, A. N., Makani, J., Sadarangani, M., Ajala-Agbo, T., Berkley, J. A., Newton, C. R., Marsh, K., Williams, T. N.

Clin Infect Dis. 2009; : 216-22

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