Frances Williams, UK

Frances Williams is a professor of genomic epidemiology who has been involved in research into chronic pain at King’s for the past 15 years. She is clinically active as a consultant rheumatologist in London. Her work with the bioresearch TwinsUK is funded through a variety of sources including Wellcome Trust, MRC, EU and Arthritis Research UK. Twin and family studies have demonstrated that chronic widespread pain (CWP) and the chronic pain syndromes are heritable. Neuropathic pain is also heritable and shares genetic factors with CWP. Progress at identifying the genetic factors involved, however, has been slow. One mechanism by which environmental factors may impact on chronic pain is through epigenetics. Her group has been working on a variety of omic measures – DNA methylation, glycans and the microbiome - to identify mechanisms underlying chronic pain.