CCBS : Centre For Clinical Brain Sciences

CCBS Photo

Anna Williams



01896 826624

Postal Address

The Queen’s Medical Research Institute, 47, Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ

Job Title

Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow and Honorary Consultant




BSc (Med Sci), MB ChB (Hons), PhD, MRCP

Research overview

My special interest is Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and in particular its pathophysiology. My main research question is to discover why demyelinated plaques in MS remyelinate inefficiently and the molecules involved in the process, with the longterm aim of manipulating this to enhance repair.

Research direction

I am currently setting up a research group in the new Edinburgh University Multiple Sclerosis Centre to investigate the processes of demyelination and remyelination in MS. Remyelination does occur in MS, but inefficiently, and is carried out by oligodendrocyte precursor cells which need to be attracted to the damaged area, make contact with axons, mature and form myelin sheaths to replace those that are damaged. I am interested in the molecules controlling this migration and maturation, and in particular the Semaphorins 3A and 3F which are repulsive or attractive signals respectively. We are investigating their effects on migration and remyelination using in vitro and in vivo systems and manipulating their levels using lentiviruses and transgenic semaphorin knockouts. I am also involved in the CUPID trial for MS, and will be helping to further develop the MS clinics in Lothian.

Board Membership
  • Member of the Scientific Committee for the French MS Society ARSEP.
Recent Publications
  • Dubois-Dalcq M, Williams A, Stadelman C, Stankoff B, Zalc B, Lubetski C. Understanding endogenous remyelination in CNS demyelinating diseases: key to remyelination therapy? (2008) Brain (submitted)
  • Williams A, Piaton G, Belhadi A, Théadin M, Aigrot M-S, Petermann F, Thomas J-L, Zalc B, Lubetzki C. Semaphorin 3A and 3F: key players in myelin repair in multiple sclerosis? (2007) Brain 130(Pt 10):2554-65.
  • Williams A, Piaton G, Lubetzki C. Astrocytes – friends or foes in Multiple Sclerosis? (2007) Glia 55(13):1300-12.
  • Williams A. A neurology letter from Paris. (2007) Practical Neurology 7:346-349.
  • Connor M, Williams A, Macleod M, Smith C. Vanishing diplopia: a problem case. (2007) Practical Neurology 7: 268-271
  • Lubetzki C, Williams A, Stankoff B. Promoting repair in multiple sclerosis: problems and prospects. (2005) Curr Opin Neurol.;18(3):237-44.
  • Williams A, Williams A and Austen D. Me and my father’s neurological illness: The Tilted Disc Syndrome. (2005) Practical Neurology 5: 54 - 55.
  • Parman Y, Battaloğlu E, Barış I, Bilir B, Poyraz M, Bissar-Tadmouri N, Williams A, Deymeer F, Serdaroğlu P, Yapıcı Z, Eraksoy M, Brophy PJ, Said G. Clinicopathological and genetic study of early-onset demyelinating neuropathy. (2004) Brain 127(Pt 11):2540-50.
  • Williams A. Image of the moment: xanthochromia in the cerebrospinal fluid. (2004) Practical Neurology 4: 174 - 175.
  • Williams A. The Origin of Adam – Michelangelo Buonarroti. (2004) Practical Neurology 4: 246 - 247.
  • Kelso A and Williams A. Neurology 2002. (2003) Journal of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh 33:275-280.
  • Williams A, Fuller G, Bell J, Warlow CP. Confusion and ataxia in a middle-aged woman. (2003) Practical Neurology 3:282-292.
  • Takashima H, Boerkoel CF, De Jonghe P, Ceuterick C, Martin J-J, Voit T, Schröder J-M, Williams A, Brophy PJ, Timmerman V and Lupski JR. Periaxin mutations cause a broad spectrum of demyelinating neuropathies. (2002) Annals of Neurology 51, 709-715.
  • Williams AC and Brophy PJ. The function of the Periaxin gene during nerve repair in a model of CMT4F. (2002) Journal of Anatomy 200, 323-330.
  • Williams A, Guilbot A1, Ravise N, Verny C, Brice A, Sherman DL, Brophy PJ, LeGuern E, Delague V, Bareil C, Megarbane A, and Claustres M. A mutation in Periaxin is responsible for CMT4F, an autosomal recessive form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. (2001) Hum Mol Genet 10(4), 415-21.
Related Sites