Jamal B. Williams PhD

Jamal Williams

Jamal B. Williams

Contact Information
CTRC 875 Ellicott St
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-888-4875

Professional Summary:

As an early-career investigator in the field of psychiatric genetics, I am deeply committed to uncovering the underlying genetic factors that contribute to the development of disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Autism spectrum disorder, especially in populations that are historically unrepresentedĀ in biomedical research. Our approach leverages the use of cutting-edge technologies to analyze classical and NGS-assays, such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS), functional genomics, and transcriptomic analysis. Additionally, the implementation of principle component analysis and tools such as STRUCTURE and ADMIXTURE, enables us to more accurately explore this data in order to account for subpopulation-specific ancestral fractions across the genome.

Inclusion of ancestrally diverse genetic data, especially in those of African descent is crucial as it allows for a more comprehensive understanding of underlying psychiatric genetic risk factors. More importantly, taking ancestry into account, leads to the identification of population-specific variants. Furthermore, because of the diverse variation that exist in the African genome, including these populations in our studies allows for the discovery of novel risk loci that are normally masked in Euro-centric studies.

We are also utilizing transcriptomic analysis to gain new insights into the underlying mechanisms of psychiatric disorders. By studying gene expression levels in addition to genetic variations, we will be able to identify convergent mechanisms that are disrupted in psychiatric disorders which can provide new targets for treatments and therapies.

I am actively involved with the community, collaborating with organizations and researchers to engage and recruit participants of African descent, and making sure that the study design and analysis are culturally appropriate and respectful. I am also a dedicated member of several academic and community health committees, working to contribute to the discussion and implementation of strategies that aim to reduce health disparities.

I am inspired by the potential to make a real impact on the lives of individuals and families affected by these disorders. I am determined to advance our understanding of the genetics of psychiatric disorders and ultimately improve the lives of those affected, through the use of advanced technologies, inclusive research, and community engagement.

Education and Training:

  • Fellowship, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) (2023)
  • PhD, Neuroscience, University at Buffalo: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (2022)
  • MA, Biology ABD, Buffalo State College (2017)
  • BS, Biology, D'Youville University (2015)
  • BS, Mathematics, D'Youville University (2015)


  • Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, University at Buffalo: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (2023-present)

Awards and Honors:

  • Dean's Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research (2022)
  • Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creativity Award (2021)
  • Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honors Society (2021)
  • Sigma Xi Companions in Zealous Research Award (2021)
  • Celebration of Student Academic Excellence Awardee (2021)
  • SUNY GREAT Awardee (2021)
  • NIH D-SPAN Blueprint F99/K00 Award (2020)
  • Celebration of Student Academic Excellence Awardee (2020)
  • UB Excellence for Promoting Inclusion and Cultural Diversity (2020)
  • Beverly Patterson Bishop and Charles W. Bishop Neuroscience Award (2019)
  • Institute for Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity (iSEED) Fellowship (2017)
  • Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship (2017)
  • Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biomedical Sciences (CLIMB) Fellowship (2017)

Research Expertise:

  • Epigenetic and Transcriptomic analysis in models of neurodevelopmental disorders: Using multi-omic analysis to investigate dynamic changes in gene expression that lead to the breakdown in biological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders
  • Polygenic Risk Analysis: Creating inclusive polygenic risk models that incorporate ancestrally diverse and admixed genetic data, to predict continuous and binary traits related to neurodevelopment, sociability, and psychiatric disease outcome.
  • Psychiatric Genetics: Utilization of complex genetic data, especially in those of ancestrally diverse backgrounds to infer genetic risk for psychiatric disorders.

Research Centers:

  • Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC)

UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:

  • Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics

Journal Articles:

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School News:

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Contact Information

CTRC 875 Ellicott St
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-888-4875