Molecular and Cellular Evolution of Microbial Eukaryotes

Dr. Tom A. Williams

Contact information

  • Phone number: +44 (0)191 222 3481
  • e-mail adress: Tom.Williams2 (at)

Work description

I did my Ph.D. with Mario Fares in the Genetics Department at Trinity College Dublin on the evolution of molecular chaperones. In Newcastle, I am studying the genome evolution of microsporidia. In general, microsporidial genomes are small and have lost many typically eukaryotic features, both in terms of functions (protein families) and genome organization (introns, repetitive elements). However, there is substantial variation in genome size and composition within the microsporidia, and we don't really understand how or why these differences exist. I am using comparative genomics to analyse the retention and loss of these features across reduced genomes, in the hope that we can better understand their functions in all eukaryotes.

Tom's publications

  • Campbell SE, Williams TA, Yousuf A, Soanes DM, Paszkiewicz KH, Williams BA. The genome of Spraguea lophii and the basis of host-microsporidian interactions.. PLoS Genet. vol 9 p. e1003676 (2013). pubmed
  • Nakjang S, Williams TA, Heinz E, Watson AK, Foster PG, Sendra KM, Heaps SE, Hirt RP, Embley TM. Reduction and expansion in microsporidian genome evolution: new insights from comparative genomics. Genome Biol Evol. vol 5 p. 2285-303 (2013). pubmed
  • Williams TA, Foster PG, Cox CJ, Embley TM. An archaeal origin of eukaryotes supports only two primary domains of life.. Nature. vol 504 p. 231-236 (2013). pubmed
  • Caffrey BE, Williams TA, Jiang X, Toft C, Hokamp K, Fares MA. Proteome-wide analysis of functional divergence in bacteria: exploring a host of ecological adaptations. PLoS One. vol 7 p. e35659 (2012). pubmed
  • Heinz E, Williams TA, Nakjang S, Noel CJ, Swan DC, Goldberg AV, Harris SR, Weinmaier T, Markert S, Becher D, Bernhardt J, Dagan T, Hacker C, Lucocq JM, Schweder T, Rattei T, Hall N, Hirt RP, Embley TM. The Genome of the Obligate Intracellular Parasite Trachipleistophora hominis: New Insights into Microsporidian Genome Dynamics and Reductive Evolution. PLoS Pathog. vol 8 p. e1002979 (2012). pubmed
  • Rytkonen KT, Akbarzadeh A, Miandare HK, Kamei H, Duan C, Leder EH, Williams TA, Nikinmaa M. Subfunctionalization of cyprinid hypoxia inducible factors for roles in development and oxygen sensing. Evolution. p. DOI: 10.1111 (2012).
  • Williams TA, Foster PG, Nye TM, Cox CJ, Embley TM. A congruent phylogenomic signal places eukaryotes within the Archaea . Proc Biol Sci. (2012). pubmed
  • Rytkoenen KT, Williams TA, Renshaw GM, Primmer CR, Nikinmaa M. Molecular Evolution of the Metazoan PHD-HIF Oxygen-Sensing System. Mol Biol Evol. vol 28 p. 1913-26 (2011). pubmed
  • Williams TA, Embley TM, Heinz E. Informational Gene Phylogenies Do Not Support a Fourth Domain of Life for Nucleocytoplasmic Large DNA Viruses. PLoS ONE. vol 6 p. doi:10.1371/ (2011). pubmed
  • Williams TA, Codoner FM, Toft C, Fares MA. Two chaperonin systems in bacterial genomes with distinct ecological roles. Trends Genet. vol 26 p. 47-51 (2010). pubmed
  • Williams TA, Fares MA. The effect of chaperonin buffering on protein evolution. Genome Biol. Evol. vol 2 p. 609-19 (2010). pubmed
  • Toft C, Williams TA, Fares MA. Genome-wide functional divergence after the symbiosis of proteobacteria with insects unraveled through a novel computational approach. PLoS Comput. Biol. vol 5 p. e1000344 (2009). pubmed
  • Williams TA, Wolfe KH, Fares MA. No rosetta stone for a sense-antisense origin of aminoacyl tRNA synthetase classes. Mol. Biol. Evol. vol 26 p. 445-50 (2009). pubmed