Matthew A. Williams, Ph.D.

Research Interests

  • Immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Viral infections
  • Vaccination
  • Immunologic Memory
  • T Cell Biology
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Immunotherapy

Languages

  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Pathology - Associate Professor
  • Divisions: Microbiology and Immunology
  • Cancer Center Programs: Cell Response & Regulation

Academic Office Information

  • (801) 585-2487
  • Emma Eccles Jones Research Building
    Department of Pathology
    15 North Medical Drive East, Room: 2200J
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Email: matthew.williams@path.utah.edu

Academic Bio

Matthew Williams, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Utah. He is also a member of the Cell Response and Regulation program within the Huntsman Cancer Institute. The Williams laboratory studies T cell differentiation and function in response to infections and tumors. Dr. Williams recieved his PhD from Emory University in 2002. While there, he focused on the role of infectious history in disrupting the efficacy of costimulation blockade-induced transplant tolerance. He later moved on to post-doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Bevan at the University of Washington, where he studied the role of Interleukin-2 in promoting the differentiation and function of long-lived T cell memory. Dr. Williams moved to the University of Utah in 2007.

Following viral or bacterial infection, numerous components of the immune response play a role in recognizing, engaging and eradicating the offending pathogen. T cells are particularly central to protection from a wide variety of infections. A key hallmark of protective T cell responses is the long-lived (in many cases life-long) persistence of memory T cells after the pathogen is cleared. Because memory T cells are present at elevated frequencies and recognize the pathogen quickly, they are able to provide rapid protection upon encountering the same pathogen a second time. While many successful vaccines of the past have relied on the development of antibody responses for their protective effect, future disease challenges will require the induction of cell-mediated protection provided by T cells. The research focus of the Williams laboratory is to understand the nature of T cell intrinsic signals, such as the T-cell receptor, and T cell extrinsic signals, such as inflammation, in promoting the ability of T cells to acquire the functions that allow them to eradicate pathogens and form long-lived immunological memory.

A major obstacle in harnessing the immune system to combat cancer is the ability of many tumors to inhibit T cell function. The Williams laboratory is engaged in pre-clinical studies as well as clinical trials of melanoma to understand the mechanisms that tumors use to suppress T-cell responses. The end goal is to improve upon existing immune-based therapies to induce long-lived, highly functional anti-tumor memory T cells that promote durable cancer remission.

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship University of Washington
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Emory University
Immunology
Ph.D.
Undergraduate Brigham Young University
Microbiology
B.S.

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Kim C, Jay DC, Williams MA (2014). Dynamic functional modulation of CD4+ T cell recall responses is dependent on the inflammatory environment of the secondary stimulus. PLoS Pathog, 10(5), e1004137.
  2. Disparate roles for STAT5 in primary and secondary CTL responses.Mitchell DM, Williams MA (2013). Disparate roles for STAT5 in primary and secondary CTL responses. J Immunol, 190(7), 3390-8.
  3. Bim mediates the elimination of functionally unfit Th1 responders from the memory pool.Jay DC, Mitchell DM, Williams MA (2013). Bim mediates the elimination of functionally unfit Th1 responders from the memory pool. PLoS One, 8(6), e67363.
  4. Sustained interactions between T cell receptors and antigens promote the differentiation of CD4(+) memory T cells.Kim C, Wilson T, Fischer KF, Williams MA (2013). Sustained interactions between T cell receptors and antigens promote the differentiation of CD4(+) memory T cells. Immunity, 39(3), 508-20.
  5. Antigen experience shapes phenotype and function of memory Th1 cells.Khanolkar A, Williams MA, Harty JT (2013). Antigen experience shapes phenotype and function of memory Th1 cells. PLoS One, 8(6), e65234.
  6. Inhibition of ron kinase blocks conversion of micrometastases to overt metastases by boosting antitumor immunity.Eyob H, Ekiz HA, Derose YS, Waltz SE, Williams MA, Welm AL (2013). Inhibition of ron kinase blocks conversion of micrometastases to overt metastases by boosting antitumor immunity. Cancer Discov, 3(7), 751-60.
  7. Stability and function of secondary Th1 memory cells are dependent on the nature of the secondary stimulus.Kim C, Jay DC, Williams MA (2012). Stability and function of secondary Th1 memory cells are dependent on the nature of the secondary stimulus. J Immunol, 189(5), 2348-55.
  8. Oct1 is a switchable, bipotential stabilizer of repressed and inducible transcriptional states.Shakya A, Kang J, Chumley J, Williams MA, Tantin D (2011). Oct1 is a switchable, bipotential stabilizer of repressed and inducible transcriptional states. J Biol Chem, 286(1), 450-9.
  9. Distinct roles for IL-2 and IL-15 in the differentiation and survival of CD8+ effector and memory T cells.Mitchell DM, Ravkov EV, Williams MA (2010). Distinct roles for IL-2 and IL-15 in the differentiation and survival of CD8+ effector and memory T cells. J Immunol, 184(12), 6719-30.
  10. The magnitude of CD4+ T cell recall responses is controlled by the duration of the secondary stimulus.Ravkov EV, Williams MA (2009). The magnitude of CD4+ T cell recall responses is controlled by the duration of the secondary stimulus. J Immunol, 183(4), 2382-9.
  11. Rapid culling of the CD4+ T cell repertoire in the transition from effector to memory.Williams MA, Ravkov EV, Bevan MJ (2008). Rapid culling of the CD4+ T cell repertoire in the transition from effector to memory. Immunity, 28(4), 533-45.
  12. Interleukin-2 signals during priming are required for secondary expansion of CD8+ memory T cells.Williams MA, Tyznik AJ, Bevan MJ (2006). Interleukin-2 signals during priming are required for secondary expansion of CD8+ memory T cells. Nature, 441(7095), 890-3.

Review

  1. Early events regulating immunity and pathogenesis during Listeria monocytogenes infection.Williams MA, Schmidt RL, Lenz LL (2012). Early events regulating immunity and pathogenesis during Listeria monocytogenes infection. [Review]. Trends Immunol, 33(10), 488-95.
  2. Nature and nurture: T-cell receptor-dependent and T-cell receptor-independent differentiation cues in the selection of the memory T-cell pool.Kim C, Williams MA (2010). Nature and nurture: T-cell receptor-dependent and T-cell receptor-independent differentiation cues in the selection of the memory T-cell pool. [Review]. Immunology, 131(3), 310-7.
  3. Requirements for CD8 T-cell priming, memory generation and maintenance.Prlic M, Williams MA, Bevan MJ (2007). Requirements for CD8 T-cell priming, memory generation and maintenance. [Review]. Curr Opin Immunol, 19(3), 315-9.
  4. Effector and memory CTL differentiation.Williams MA, Bevan MJ (2007). Effector and memory CTL differentiation. [Review]. Annu Rev Immunol, 25, 171-92.
  5. Developing and maintaining protective CD8+ memory T cells.Williams MA, Holmes BJ, Sun JC, Bevan MJ (2006). Developing and maintaining protective CD8+ memory T cells. [Review]. Immunol Rev, 211, 146-53.