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TEAM

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SCOTT WILLIAMS

Scott received his Bachelors degree in Biology from Brown University where he focused on Biotechnology and Bioengineering. After graduation, he spent several years as a technician at CytoTherapeutics (later known as StemCells, Inc), where he worked to develop polymer-based matrices for use in encapsulated cell therapies to treat chronic pain and neurodegenerative disorders. This is where he developed his passion for neuroscience and developmental and stem cell biology, and which led him to pursue a PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University. In the laboratory of Carol Mason, Scott identified several receptor-ligand systems that mediate retinal axon pathfinding and divergence at the optic chiasm. For his post-doc, Scott joined the laboratory of Elaine Fuchs at The Rockefeller University where he worked to characterize the molecular machinery that controls spindle orientation and cell fate choices in the developing epidermis.


Scott came to UNC in 2013 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in Biology, and is a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Scott has broad research interests in the cell, developmental and cancer biology of stratified epithelia, with a particular emphasis on oral epithelia. Scott is extremely passionate and active in graduate and undergraduate student training and education, and is a recent recipient of the John Wheeler Grisham Award for Excellence in Teaching Graduate Students. Scott also serves on the Executive Committee for three graduate curricula (Genetics and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Physiology, and Pathobiology & Translational Sciences), is the faculty advisor for the Marc J Mass Memorial lecture, and has leadership roles in BBSP admissions and recruiting. He is also an instructor for PATH713/715 (“Molecular and Cellular Pathophysiologic Basis of Disease: Mechanisms of Disease/Systemic Pathology”), PHCO744 (“Stem Cells”), CBP 851 (“Modern Concepts in Cell Biology II”), and is a first-year group co-mentor in BBSP902 (“Seminar in Biological and Biomdical Sciences”). In addition to serving as the thesis advisor (BIOL692H) for undergraduates in the lab, Scott also serves as the Biology Faculty Sponsor for many undergraduates performing research (BIOL395/495) in other labs at UNC. Scott is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and the Director of the Pathobiology & Translational Science Graduate Program.

Most recent CV

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scott_williams [at] med.unc.edu

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Kendall Lough

The goal of Kendall's postdoctoral work is to uncover the mechanisms guiding the formation and function of the gut-brain axis during embryogenesis. Recent evidence suggests that the epithelial sensory network of the intestine synapses with the central nervous system through the vagal nerve, forming a rapid neural circuit capable of translating intestinal contents into sensations of satiety and reward. Kendall's research seeks to determine when this circuit first forms and thereby uncover the cell and molecular mechanisms underlying its formation.

Kendall_Lough [at] unc.edu

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Amber Altrieth

Amber joined the Williams lab as a postdoctoral research associate in August 2023, where she is interested in studying oral epithelial wound healing. She did her doctoral work in Dr. Melinda Larsen's lab at the University at Albany in Albany, NY, where she received an NIH F31 to fund her work. Her graduate studies focused on profiling salivary gland endothelial cells during fibrosis and recovery from injury utilizing a salivary gland ductal ligation surgical model in female mice. When Amber is not in the lab, she enjoys going on hikes with her dog, Ein, or reading books

altrieth [at] email.unc.edu

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Juliet King

Juliet (left) joined the Williams’ lab in April of 2021 through the Cell Biology and Physiology Department (CBP). Over the course of her thesis project, Juliet plans to uncover the mechanisms by which cell adhesion molecules control cell fate decisions and division orientation in the developing skin. Juliet’s interests in cell and developmental biology began as undergraduate at Bucknell University in the lab of Julie Gates. At Bucknell, Juliet used the Drosophila eye to identify regulators of Ras membrane localization. Juliet then joined Don Fox’s lab at Duke University where she continued working with flies to understand how and when polyploid tissues, like the heart and hindgut, develop. Juliet contributed to a publication describing a new mechanism of cytoplasm sharing through gap junctions (PMID 33051002) under the mentorship of Nora Peterson in the Fox lab. With the support of the CSIP T32 training grant, Juliet is excited to focus on the physiological and tissue wide consequences of disrupted cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesions in the skin. When not in lab Juliet enjoys cooking, hanging out with friends, and playing volleyball.

jsk032 [at] med.unc.edu
 

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Lauren Griffith

Lauren joined the Williams’ Lab as a graduate student in May of 2024 through the Cell Biology and Physiology Department. For her thesis project, Lauren plans to explore how mechanisms of cell-matrix adhesions control cell fate choices and differentiation in the skin. Lauren’s research interest in cell biology began as an undergraduate at Mansfield University in Dr. Kristen Long’s lab, which focused on identifying what helps to shape the microenvironment during tumor development in pancreatic cancer. Outside of the lab, Lauren enjoys filming for her YouTube channel, running, baking cookies, watching movies, shopping, and hanging with friends and family. 

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Jackson Knox

Meet Jackson, a member of UNC's graduating class of 2027 who joined the lab in early 2024. Jackson assists Dr. Lough's research on the gut-brain axis, exploring the intricate connections between our digestive system and cognitive function. Eager to deepen his understanding of human physiology, Jackson is preparing for medical school, where he aspires to become a physician. Outside the lab, Jackson enjoys working out, unwinding with episodes of Modern Family, experimenting in the kitchen (especially with his favorite combo of ranch and buffalo sauce), and most of all, sleeping in on weekends.

med.unc.edu

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Vina Senthil

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Spoorthi Marada

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Interested in joining our team?

Find the "Contact Us!" page to see how

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