Thomas Williams

Associate Professor

Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Thomas Williams received his Ph.D. for research on the molecular mechanisms of Hox protein function during animal development while in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Innis at the University of Michigan. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Sean Carroll at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Williams studied how animal form has evolved due to changes in the regulation of gene activity during development. Now at the University of Dayton, Dr. Williams’ lab seeks to define the molecular mechanisms that translate animal genetic variation into overt phenotypic variation in order to understand the causes of individuality and evolutionary novelty.

Faculty Perspective

To me, the University of Dayton is a special University where students, faculty and staff can have it all!  Firstly, here you do not have to make compromises, as the University is large enough to present diverse opportunities and experiences to all without being too large where one feels insignificant or without a community of support.  Secondly, while UD is at the vanguard of scientific research and professional development, this is not accomplished at the expense of Undergraduate education.

Courses Taught

  • General Genetics (BIO 312)
  • Sophomore Seminar (BIO 299)


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan (2005)
  • M.S., University of Michigan (2003)
  • B.S., Eastern Michigan University, magna cum laude (1999)

Professional Activities

  • Society for Developmental Biology
  • Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
  • Sigma Xi

Research Interests

  • The control and evolution of gene expression
  • Animal development and the evolution of development

Selected Publications and Presentations


Rebeiz M. and Williams TM.  "Experimental Approaches to Evaluate the Contributions of Candidate Cis-regulatory Mutations to Phenotypic Evolution." (2011) In: Orgogozo V, Rockman M, editors. Molecular Methods for Evolutionary Genetics. Humana Press (Vol. 772, ISBN 978-1-61779-227-4)


Salomone JR, Rogers WA, Rebeiz M, and Williams TM. (2013) "The evolution of Bab paralog expression and abdominal pigmentation among Sophophora fruit fly species." Evolution and Development (Accepted).

Rogers WA, Salomone JR, Tacy DJ, Camino EM, Davis KA, Rebeiz M, and Williams TM. (2013) "Recurrent Modification of a Conserved Cis-Regulatory Element Underlies Fruit Fly Pigmentation Diversity." PLoS Genetics (Accepted).

Rogers WA and Williams TM. (2011) "Quantitative comparison of cis-Regulatory Element (CRE) activities in transgenic Drosophila melanogaster." Journal of Visualized Experiments. Dec; 58 (e3395): 1-6.

Werner T, Koshikawa S, Williams TM, and Carroll SB.  (2010) "Generation and evolution of a complex wing color pattern controlled by the Wingless morphogen." Nature. Apr; 22: 464 (7292): 1143-8. (Cover)

Williams TM and Carroll SB.  (2009) "Genetic and molecular insights into the development and evolution of sexual dimorphism." Nature Reviews Genetics. Nov; 10: 797-804.

Shirangi TR, Dufour HD, Williams TM, and Carroll SB.  (2009) "Rapid Evolution of Sex-Pheromone-producing Enzyme in Drosophila." PLoS Biology. Aug 7 (8): e1000168.doi:10.1371.pbio.1000168.

Williams TM, Selegue JE, Werner T, Gompel N, Kopp A, and Carroll SB.  (2008) "The Regulation and Evolution of a Genetic Switch Controlling Sexually Dimorphic Traits in Drosophila." Cell. Aug 22; 134: 610-623. (Cover).

Prud'homme B, Gompel N, Rokas A, Kassner VA, Williams TM, Yeh SD, True JR, Carroll SB. (2006)  "Repeated morphological evolution through cis-regulatory changes in a pleiotropic gene." Nature. Apr 20; 440 (7087): 1050-3.

Williams TM, Williams ME, Heaton JH, Gelehrter TD, and Innis JW. (2005) "Group 13 HOX Proteins Interact with the MH2 Domain of R-Smads and Modulate Smad Transcriptional Activation Functions Independent of  HOX DNA Binding Capability." Nucleic Acids Research. Aug 8; 33 (14): 4475-84.

Williams TM, Williams ME, Kuick R, Misek D, McDonagh K, Hanash S, & Innis JW.  (2005)  "Candidate Downstream Regulated Genes of HOX Group 13 Transcription Factors with and without Monomeric DNA Binding Capability." Developmental Biology. Mar 15; 279(2): 462-80.

Williams TM, Williams ME, and Innis JW.  (2005) "Range of HOX/TALE superclass associations and protein domain requirements for HOXA13:MEIS interaction." Developmental Biology. 2005 Jan 15; 277 (2): 457-71.

Innis JW, Mortlock D, Chen Z, Ludwig M, Williams ME, Williams TM, Doyle CD, Shao Z, Glynn M, Mikulic D, Lehmann K, Mundlos S, and Utsch B. (2004) "Polyalanine expansion in HOXA13: Three new affected families and the molecular consequences in a mouse model." Human Molecular Genetics. 2004 Nov 15;13 (22): 2841-51.

Innis JW, Goodman FR, Bacchelli C, Williams TM, Mortlock DP, Sateesh P, Scambler PJ, McKinnon W, and Guttmacher AE. "A HOXA13 allele with a missense mutation in the homeobox and a dinucleotide deletion in the promoter underlies Guttmacher syndrome." Hum Mutat. 2002 May; 19 (5): 573-4.

Hanash SM, Bobek MP, Rickman DS, Williams TM, Rouillard JM, Kuick R, and Puravs E. "Integrating cancer genomics and proteomics in the post-genome era." Proteomics. 2002 Jan; 2 (1): 69-75.

Dua K, Williams TM, and Beretta L. "Translational control of the proteome: Relevance to cancer." Proteomics. 2001 Oct; 1 (10): 1191-9.

Kass DH, Raynor ME, and Williams TM. "Evolutionary History of B1 Retroposons in the Genus Mus." Journal of Molecular Evolution. 2000 Sep; 51 (3): 256-64.