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Kimberly D. Williams, Ph.D.
Office/laboratory telephone: 215-204-4501
I am a skeletal biologist specializing in bioarchaeology, genetic epidemiology, and spatial analysis. My graduate education in biological anthropology focused on skeletal biology/bioarchaeology of past populations and the use of spatial analysis (GIS) to understand the interaction of the physical environment and growth, development, and health in past populations. My postdoctoral training, funded by a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA fellowship, focused on genetic epidemiology of growth and development of the skeleton. I teach various biological anthropology courses including topics in human population/evolutionary genetics and skeletal biology/bioarchaeology.
Bioarchaeology/Skeletal Biology Research: I have conducted bioarchaeological fieldwork in the Mid-Atlantic region of the eastern United States as well as Jordan, Yemen, and Oman. I have been involved with the History of Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere (HHWH) and the History of Health in Europe projects. My work with the HHWH project includes research on osteoarthritis and skeletal morphology of Native Americans. My doctoral research explored how biomechanical adaptations to the physical landscape affected long bone development in prehistoric North America. I developed GIS models of archaeological landscapes in order to learn more about the cost (biological and geographical) of traversing the landscape. I used these terrain evaluations, in addition to analyses of long bone metrics and evidence of degenerative joint disease, to examine associations between landscape and prehistoric activity patterns. This study is one of the first large-scale applications of GIS technology to bioarchaeology. Anthropologists previously have established a relationship between mobility and the size and shape of long bones and with differences in activity patterns. By combining an evaluation of terrain, I examined not only mobility, but also difficulty of human movement and how resulting biomechanical variables affect skeletal biology.
Genetic Epidemiology of Growth and Development of the Skeleton Research: I have two research programs conducted in an endogamous population in eastern Nepal in collaboration with Bradford Towne, (Wright State University), Sarah Williams-Blangero and John Blangero (Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research), and Janardan Subedi (Miami University). The Jiri Brachydactyly Study focuses on the development of the hand and the Jiri Physical Activity and Bone Structural Development Study investigates the genetic and environmental factors that influence development of the long bones. I am currently collecting physical activity data among the Jirel children using triaxial accelerometers, as well as longitudinal axial quantitative ultrasound (QUS) data. I have been mapping the GPS locations of the homes and schools of the children in the study as well as route data from the major footpaths used daily. I am in the process of building GIS models of landscape interaction for these children and calculating the physiological cost of traversing these landscapes in combination with the quantitative physical activity and QUS data I have collected. Over the next several years, I plan to model the environmental and genetic aspects of bone structural development among the children in this population.
Williams KD, Blangero J, Cottom, CR, Lawrence S, Choh AC, Czerwinski S, Lee M, Duren DL, Sherwood RJ, Dyer TD, Subedi J, Jha B, Williams-Blangero S, Towne B. 2007. Heritability of Brachydactyly Type A3 in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults from an Endogamous Population in Eastern Nepal. Human Biology 79(6): 609-622.
Choh AC, Demerath EW, Lee M, Williams KD, Towne B, Siervogel RM, Cole SA, Czerwinski SA. 2008. Genetic analysis of self-reported physical activity and adiposity: The Southwest Ohio Family
Study. Public Health Nutrition. 9:1-9.
Towne B, Williams KD, Blangero J, Czerwinski SA, Demerath EW, Dyer T, Cole SA, Lee M, Choh AC, Duren DL, Sherwood RJ, Chumlea WC, Siervogel RM. 2008. Presentation, Heritability, and Genome-Wide Linkage Analysis of the Mid-Childhood Growth Spurt in Healthy Children from the Fels
Longitudinal Study. Human Biology. 80(6):623-636.