James C. Williams, PhD
Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology
Williams received his BS degree in Biology from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, in 1978, and his PhD in Physiology (minors, Applied Physics, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) from Cornell University in 1983. He then completed four years of post-doctoral work with Dr. James Schafer in the Division of Nephrology, University of Alabama at Birmingham. He took his first faculty position in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the Medic la University of South Carolina in 1987, and moved to Indiana University in 1991. He is presently Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at IU School of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor in Urology at the University of Southern Denmark.
9/1/15-8/31/20, Adjunct Professor in Urology, University of Southern Denmark
7/1/06-present Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology Indiana University School of Medicine
8/1/91-6/30/06 Associate Professor (tenured 7/1/98) Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology Indiana University School of Medicine
1/1/87-7/31/91 Assistant Professor Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
7/1/86-12/31/86 Research Instructor Department of Physiology University of Alabama at Birmingham
Kidney stones affect a large number of Americans, with about 12% of people having at least one stone in their lifetime, and half of these people will have more than one stone. Stones are rarely life-threatening, but they cause intense pain and often require surgical procedures to be removed. The causes of kidney stones are not fully understood, but it is obvious that the causes are many, and thus the treatments for stones will also be diverse.
Our work is involved with two aspects of kidney stone diseases. The first is the study of human kidney stones using micro computed tomography (micro CT) and molecular spectroscopy to determine the compositions and structures of stones. Few stones are homogeneous in composition, and most show 'growth rings' that indicate the processes that occurred in the past to create the stone. Our laboratory was the first to apply micro CT to the study of stones, and we are discovering many new things about the nature of stones in different forms of kidney stone disease. Our work in this area is in close collaboration with surgeons who treat patients suffering from kidney stones.
We also study shock wave lithotripsy, one of the most used methods for treating kidney stones, but a method that is still poorly understood. That is, it is still not clear exactly how a shock wave breaks up a stone, nor how to make a better shock wave that will break up stones more effectively and injure tissue less. For this work we collaborate with a large team of investigators that includes physicians, engineers, and physicists.