2016 Recipient — Ryan Williams, PhD

Ryan Williams, PhD

An Ovarian Cancer Biosensor for Rapid, Non-invasive Disease Detection

Project Summary

Ovarian cancer patient diagnosis and treatment is often limited by a lack of rapidly available information regarding their disease progression, response to treatment, and relapse. The proposed work will develop an implantable real-time sensor to deliver rapid and frequent information to physicians regarding patient disease state, progression, treatment, and recurrence. This project will provide a significant advancement in the ability to detect and monitor ovarian cancer. Thus, the aim of this work is to drastically increase the cure rate of ovarian cancer by rapidly providing caregivers timely and personalized information regarding patient disease state.

Areas of Research:


Ryan M. Williams, Ph.D. is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer
(MSKCC) Center Molecular Pharmacology Program. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the
University of Virginia in 2008. In 2013, Dr. Williams earned a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical and
Pharmacological Sciences from West Virginia University. His work there, performed under the guidance
of Prof. Letha Sooter, focused on the selection of molecular recognition elements for prostate cancer
cells and environmental contaminants as well as the interaction of carbon nanotubes with biological
systems. As a graduate student, Dr. Williams received an American Foundation for Pharmaceutical
Education Pre‐Doctoral Fellowship in the Pharmaceutical Sciences and a NanoSAFE Graduate Fellowship.
Following his graduate work, Dr. Williams joined the lab of his mentor, Dr. Daniel Heller. In collaboration
with Dr. Douglas Levine at MSKCC, his current research focuses on the characterization and translation
of a unique implantable nanosensor to detect ovarian cancer biomarkers at early stages of disease.