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Darren Williams

Dr Darren Williams PhD

Reader in Developmental Neurobiology

Research interests

  • Biomedical and life sciences
  • Neuroscience


I have a long-standing interest in the development of insect nervous systems. My work has elucidated fundamental aspects of early development events, revealing that the fly nervous system is built from ‘modular units’ called hemilineages and that hemilineage-specific programs of cell death are fundamental for sculpting network structure. Alongside this, I have explored late developmental events that refine neuronal shape at both cellular and sub-cellular levels. To do so, I pioneered live imaging techniques to study the remodelling of axonal and dendritic arborizations live in intact animals. Through my lab's focus on fundamental questions we have identified mechanisms that are pertinent to the development of all nervous systems, such as showing that caspases are activated locally within dendrites that undergo pruning and that specific members of the ESCRT family are required for cutting neuron branches.

Please see my Research Staff Profile for more detail.

Find out more about my research:


Key Collaborators:

  • Dr Shu Kondo, National Institute of Genetics Laboratory of Invertebrate Genetics
  • Dr Sanjay Sane, National Centre for Biological Sciences Bangalore
  • Dr David Shepherd, Bangor University
  • Dr James Truman, University of Washington