Imperial College London

Professor Thomas N Williams

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Chair in Haemoglobinopathy Research



tom.williams Website




Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus





Tom Williams joined the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College as Professor of Haemoglobinopathy Research in April 2013.  His appointment marked a return to Imperial College following a 20 year absence, having qualified in Medicine from Westminster Medical School and conducted much of his clinical training in London hospitals.

Professor Williams has been a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Science since 2005.  His research base is the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Collaborative Programme in Kilifi, Kenya although his work involves extensive collaborations with colleagues throughout Africa, most notably at the Mbale Clinical Research Institute (MCRI) in Eastern Uganda and with colleagues within the REACH consortium of clinical trial sites for sickle cell disease across the continent. 

Tom's research group works on the positive and negative health consequences of a range of genetic disorders, with a particular focus on disorders affecting the red blood cell.  They address this question through a range of approaches including large-scale epidemiological studies, health-economic studies, clinical trials, and laboratory-based studies that focus on the mechanisms of malaria resistance in children with defined red cell disorders.  Examples of current projects include: a birth cohort study of more than 16,000 children, genotyped for a range of genetic polymorphisms, who are being followed for clinical events in Kilifi District, Kenya; descriptive studies of the natural history of sickle cell disease in East Africa; studies of the health consequences of a range of red cell disorders, and clinical trials in sick children, including two trials of hydroxyurea as a potential therapy in African children with sickle cell disease (REACH and H-PRIME).  

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Uyoga S, Olupot-Olupot P, Connon R, et al., 2022, Sickle cell anaemia and severe P. falciparum malaria: a secondary analysis of the Transfusion and Treatment of African Children (TRACT) trial, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, Vol:6, ISSN:2352-4642, Pages:606-613

Uyoga S, Watson J, Wanjiku P, et al., 2022, The impact of malaria-protective red blood cell polymorphisms on parasite biomass in children with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Nature Communications, Vol:13, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-7

Olupot-Olupot P, Connon R, Kiguli S, et al., 2022, A predictive algorithm for identifying children with sickle cell anemia among children admitted to hospital with severe anemia in Africa, American Journal of Hematology, Vol:97, ISSN:0361-8609, Pages:527-536

Band G, Leffler EM, Jallow M, et al., 2021, Malaria protection due to sickle haemoglobin depends on parasite genotype, Nature, Vol:602, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:1-23

Ndila CM, Nyirongo V, Macharia AW, et al., 2021, Haplotype heterogeneity and low linkage disequilibrium reduce reliable prediction of genotypes for the ‑α 3.7I form of α-thalassaemia using genome-wide microarray data [version 2; peer review: 2 approved], Wellcome Open Research, Vol:5, ISSN:2398-502X

Watson JA, Ndila CM, Uyoga S, et al., 2021, Improving statistical power in severe malaria genetic association studies by augmenting phenotypic precision., Elife, Vol:10, ISSN:2050-084X, Pages:1-39

Williams TN, 2021, Undernutrition: a major but potentially preventable cause of poor outcomes in children living with sickle cell disease in Africa, BMC Medicine, Vol:19, ISSN:1741-7015

Uyoga S, Alex W M, Ndila CM, et al., 2020, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and susceptibility to childhood diseases in Kilifi, Kenya, Blood Advances, Vol:4, ISSN:2473-9529, Pages:5942-5950

Kariuki SN, Marin-Menendez A, Introini V, et al., 2020, Red blood cell tension protects against severe malaria in the Dantu blood group, Nature, Vol:585, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:579-583

Olupot-Olupot P, Engoru C, Nteziyaremye J, et al., 2020, The clinical spectrum of severe childhood malaria in Eastern Uganda, Malaria Journal, Vol:19, ISSN:1475-2875

Uyoga S, Wanjiku P, Rop J, et al., 2020, Plasma Plasmodium falciparum Histidine-Rich Protein-2 concentrations in children with malaria infections of differing severity in Kilifi, Kenya, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol:73, ISSN:1058-4838, Pages:e2415-e2423

Gilchrist JJ, Uyoga S, Pirinen M, et al., 2020, Risk of pneumococcal bacteremia in Kenyan children with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, BMC Medicine, Vol:18, ISSN:1741-7015, Pages:1-10

Kariuki S, Williams T, 2020, Human genetics and malaria resistance, Human Genetics, Vol:139, ISSN:0340-6717, Pages:801-811

Olupot-Olupot P, Wabwire H, Ndila C, et al., 2020, Characterising demographics, knowledge, practices and clinical care among patients attending sickle cell disease clinics in Eastern Uganda [version 1; peer review: 1 approved, 1 approved with reservations], Wellcome Open Research, Vol:5, ISSN:2398-502X, Pages:1-13

Uyoga S, Macharia A, Ndila C, et al., 2019, The indirect health effects of malaria estimated from health advantages of the sickle cell trait, Nature Communications, Vol:10, ISSN:2041-1723

Tshilolo L, Tomlinson G, Williams TN, et al., 2019, Hydroxyurea for children with sickle cell anemia in sub-Saharan Africa, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol:380, ISSN:0028-4793, Pages:121-131

Ndila C, Uyoga S, Macharia A, et al., 2018, Human candidate gene polymorphisms and malaria in Kilifi, Kenya: A case-control association study, The Lancet Haematology, Vol:5, ISSN:2352-3026, Pages:e333-e345

Maitland K, Kiguli S, Opoka R, et al., 2018, Children’s Oxygen Administration Strategies Trial (COAST):  A randomised controlled trial of high flow versus oxygen versus control in African children with severe pneumonia, Wellcome Open Research, Vol:2, ISSN:2398-502X, Pages:1-36

Williams TN, Maitland K, 2017, The clinical epidemiology of sickle cell anemia in Africa, American Journal of Hematology, Vol:93, ISSN:0361-8609, Pages:363-370

Mackinnon MJ, Ndila C, Uyoga S, et al., 2016, Environmental correlation analysis for genes associated with protection against malaria, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol:33, ISSN:1537-1719, Pages:1188-1204

Uyoga S, Ndila CM, Macharia AW, et al., 2015, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase defi ciency and the risk of malaria and other diseases in children in Kenya: a case-control and a cohort study, The Lancet. Haematology, Vol:2, ISSN:2352-3026, Pages:e437-e444

Piel FB, Patil AP, Howes RE, et al., 2013, Global epidemiology of Sickle haemoglobin in neonates: A contemporary geostatistical model-based map and population estimates, The Lancet, Vol:381, ISSN:0140-6736, Pages:142-151

Piel FB, Hay SI, Gupta S, et al., 2013, Global Burden of Sickle Cell Anaemia in Children under Five, 2010-2050: Modelling Based on Demographics, Excess Mortality, and Interventions, Plos Medicine, Vol:10

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