David R. Williams received his B.S. degree (Magna Cum Laude) at St. Lawrence University (Canton, New York). He went on to graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was awarded the Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1976 under the direction of Professor George Bü chi. Subsequently, he was awarded the National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship for studies at Harvard University with Professor E. J. Corey (Nobel laureate), and also served as an NIH Fellow at Harvard under the mentorship of Professor R. B. Woodward (Nobel laureate). Dr. Williams began his academic career at IU in 1980. His research has resulted in over 100 scholarly publications. To date, one hundred graduate students and postdoctoral associates have studied in his laboratories.
Dr. Williams' research interests lie in the development of methodologies and strategies for the total synthesis of biologically active natural products. The Williams' laboratories have made leading contributions of synthetic chemistry in areas of marine natural products, including macrocycles, antibiotics, and alkaloids. To date, these efforts have described new pathways to approximately 40 complex natural product structures of importance as potential therapeutic agents to advance treatments for cancer, as well as other diseases.