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




scott_williams [at]


bethany brown

Bethany joined the Williams lab in May 2017 as a student in the Pathobiology and Translational Science curriculum. She is studying mechanisms of oral carcinogenesis in a variety of mouse models. Her excitement for understanding the genetics of cancer comes from her previous research experiences and a lifelong interest in medicine. As an undergraduate at Davidson College, Bethany worked with Professor Karen Hales to elucidate the genetic mechanisms governing mitochondrial shaping during Drosophila spermatogenesis. After college, Bethany moved to Cambridge, MA to work in Professor Tyler Jacks’ group as a research assistant. There, she used a murine model of small cell lung cancer to test novel targeted therapies and generated novel cancer models with Dr. Britt Rideout. When she’s not at the lab bench, Bethany enjoys playing trombone and baking cookies.

bethany.wagner [at]


Carlos patiño descovich

Carlos Patiño Descovich is interested in how the coordination of intercellular signaling and mechanical cues direct proper tissue growth and maintenance of the epidermis. Carlos was born in Bogotá, Colombia and grew up in Montréal, Québec. During his M.Sc with Dr. Amy Maddox at Université de Montréal he studied the roles of actin crosslinkers during the formation and ingression of the cytokinetic contractile ring. As a PhD candidate Carlos is interested in the mechanisms that establish and sustain epidermal stem cells polarity during embryonic development. Carlos loves eating corn from the cob and will judge you if you do otherwise.

cdesco [at]

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Juliet king

Juliet 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]


akankshya Jena



Jessica wu



Fahad shah



Manuela Uppalapati