Darren Williams

Darren Williams

Reader, Group Leader


Darren Williams is a Reader and Group Leader within the Department for Developmental Neurobiology. He became fascinated by insect nervous system development and metamorphosis as a postdoc in David Shepherd?s lab, at the University of Southampton and then went to work with Jim Truman at the University of Washington, studying the effect of steroid hormones on neuronal remodelling.

His work has elucidated fundamental aspects of early developmental events within the nervous system, particularly how the anatomy and function of lineally related neurons are specified, using the thoracic nervous system of Drosophila as a model. Alongside this, he has explored late developmental events that help sculpt neuronal connections, pioneering live imaging approaches in pupal stages.

By focusing on fundamental questions he has revealed mechanisms pertinent to the development all nervous systems. He has been funded by the MRC, the BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust, HHMI and the Royal Society

He is passionate about teaching and talking to non-scientists about science.


Thompson Reuters Researcher ID: C-5356-2009
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5917-4935
KCL PURE: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/darren.williams.html

Related News:

Nomenclature for the Drosophila ventral nerve cord

New nomenclature proposed, out now in Neuron

Brain Awareness Week Science Café!

Zombie neurons and the dark network!

All publications:


Pop S, Chen CL, Sproston CJ, Kondo S, Ramdya P, Williams DW (2020) Extensive and diverse patterns of cell death sculpt neural networks in insects. Elife 9


Shepherd D, Sahota V, Court R, Williams DW, Truman JW (2019) Developmental organization of central neurons in the adult Drosophila ventral nervous system. J Comp Neurol 527: 2573-2598


Constance WD, Mukherjee A, Fisher YE, Pop S, Blanc E, Toyama Y, Williams DW (2018) Neurexin and Neuroligin-based adhesion complexes drive axonal arborisation growth independent of synaptic activity. Elife 7: e31659


Mukherjee A, Williams DW (2017) More alive than dead: non-apoptotic roles for caspases in neuronal development, plasticity and disease. Cell Death Differ 24: 1411-1421