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Leanne Williams

Leanne Williams

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Major Laboratories and Clinical Translational Neurosciences Incubator) and, by courtesy, of Psychology
Dr. Williams is the founding Director of the PanLab for Precision Psychiatry and Translational Neuroscience. She has developed a radical new way to understand and treat mental disorders, anchored in a neuroscience-informed model for precision mental health.

In 2018, Dr. Williams launched as founding Director Stanford's Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness. The Center connects researchers across the campus to advance high definition imaging biotypes for mental health, sensor technology, machine learning approaches, targeted therapeutics and the world's first biotype-guided trials. Dr. Williams also leads department-wide initiatives in precision mental health as Associate Chair of 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.

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. She joined the Stanford faculty as a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 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.

Her translational programs integrate advanced neuroimaging, technology and digital innovation to transform the way we detect mental disorders, predict mental states, tailor interventions and promote wellness. Data-driven computational approaches are used to refine this transformative approach. Her experience is that a neuroscience-informed model empowers each person with an understanding of their own brain function and can reduce stigma. Her research forms the foundation of the first patented taxonomy for depression and anxiety that quantifies brain circuits for diagnostic precision and prediction. She has contributed over 270 scientific papers to the field.