Dr. Williams is the founding Director of the PanLab for Precision Psychiatry and Translational Neuroscience. She has developed a new way to understand and treat mental disorders, anchored in a neuroscience-informed model for precision mental health. She integrates brain imaging, genetics, wearables and clinical information in the context of each person’s life experience. This model guides more precise diagnoses and treatment choices, and is being translated from lab to real-world settings. Data-driven computational approaches are used to refine this transformative model. Her experience is that a neuroscience-informed model empowers each person with an understanding of their own brain function and can reduce barriers to equity.
In 2018, Dr. Williams launched Stanford's Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness. She also leads department-wide initiatives in precision mental health as Associate Chair of Research Strategy and as the Chair of a research incubator that harnesses the activities of major labs focused on clinical translational neuroscience. She has a joint position at the Palo Alto VA Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center where she is Director of education and dissemination, focused on post-traumatic stress.
After first graduating Dr. Williams worked with patients experiencing serious mental disorders and who had been hospitalized for many years. This experience transformed the trajectory of her career. She went on to complete her PhD in 1996 with a British Council scholarship for study at Oxford University. Dr. Williams came to Stanford in 2011. At that time, she was leading a multi-site international study to identify brain biomarkers for depression and treatment response. She was thrilled to join the Stanford faculty in 2013. Prior to this time, she was foundation Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry at the Sydney Medical School and Director of the interdisciplinary Sydney Brain Dynamics Center for 12 years.