Sandra G. Williams earned her M.D./Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Her biochemistry thesis focused on understanding the evolution and molecular basis of RNA-protein interactions in a family of proteins found in the spliceosome. Recently, Dr. Williams completed her residency training in internal medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital, and her rheumatology fellowship at the NIAMS. She is broadly interested in understanding how RNA surveillance pathways link to inflammatory responses and how this could contribute to rheumatic diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). While RNA-protein complexes (RNPs) are common lupus autoantigens, it is not fully understood how endogenous RNAs can activate inflammatory pathways in SLE. 

Research Statement

As a NIAMS Metzger Scholar in Translational Research, Dr. Williams works in Dr. Sandra Wolin’s NCI lab. Dr. Wolin is an RNA biologist with many years of experience studying RNA surveillance. Working in the lab, she has found that knocking out critical RNA surveillance pathways leads to an upregulated interferon response in cultured cells. Dr. Williams investigates the molecular basis for this phenomenon. She is also interested in understanding the role of extracellular vesicles in RNA quality control and whether disruption of RNA packaging into these vesicles could also lead to an upregulated interferon response which has implications for diseases like SLE.

Scientific Publications

Resurrection of an Urbilaterian U1A/U2B″/SNF protein.

Williams SG, Harms MJ, Hall KB
J Mol Biol.
2013 Oct 23;
doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2013.05.031
PMID: 23796518

Climbing the vertebrate branch of U1A/U2B″ protein evolution.

Delaney KJ, Williams SG, Lawler M, Hall KB
2014 Jul;
doi: 10.1261/rna.044255.114
PMID: 24840944

Binding affinity and cooperativity control U2B″/snRNA/U2A' RNP formation.

Williams SG, Hall KB
2014 Jun 17;
doi: 10.1021/bi500438e
PMID: 24866816

Linkage and allostery in snRNP protein/RNA complexes.

Williams SG, Hall KB
2014 Jun 10;
doi: 10.1021/bi500192a
PMID: 24849693

Use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Identify Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Induced Inflammatory Arthritis.

Subedi A, Williams SG, Yao L, Maharjan S, Strauss J, Sharon E, Thomas A, Apolo AB, Gourh P, Hasni SA, Gulley JL, Kaplan MJ, Katz JD, Gupta S
JAMA Netw Open.
2020 Feb 5;
doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.0032
PMID: 32101306

The Autoantigen Repertoire and the Microbial RNP World.

Williams SG, Wolin SL
Trends Mol Med.
2021 May;
doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2021.02.003
PMID: 33722441


National Institutes of Health, Frederick MD
Clinical Fellow, RNA Biology, Lupus Research (2018-2021)

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD
Clinical Fellow (2015-2018)

Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven CT
Medical Resident (2006-2015)

Washington University in St Louis, St Louis MO
Ph.D. Biochemistry (2006-2015)

Washington University in St Louis, St Louis MO
M.D. Medicine (2006-2015)

University of Chicago, Chicago IL
B.S. Chemistry (2002-2006)


Henry Metzger Scholar in Translational Research
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, MD (2021-present)

Adjunct Investigator
National Cancer Institute, NIH, Frederick, MD (2019-present)

Clinical Fellow
NIAMS, NIH, Bethesda, MD (2018-2021)

Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT (2016-2018)

Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT (2015-2016)

Teaching Assistant
Medical Student Physiology (2008-2009)

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