Simon Williams - Principal Scientist, Biomedical Imaging

Simon Williams

Principal Scientist, Biomedical Imaging

Postdoc Mentor
"Working with some urgency to tackle genuinely difficult biomedical problems is exciting, especially alongside so many diversely talented colleagues. The real prospect of seeing new ideas go through to improving patient outcomes greatly adds to the scientific satisfaction."
Years at Genentech
Awards & Honors

I joined Genentech in 1995 to help establish magnetic resonance imaging in the Neuroscience department. That MRI lab has grown into a full-service Biomedical Imaging department led by Robby Weimer that works on questions arising across the Research and Development organization. Prior to joining Genentech I was a biochemistry post-doc in Kevin Brindle's lab in Cambridge, England, investigating metabolite fluxes, metabolic regulation, and protein-protein interactions by applying mathematical modeling to data from NMR spectroscopy in vivo.

Twenty years has flown by while my lab has followed changes in technology – particularly the availability of positron emission tomography (PET) - that have enabled modern molecular imaging to answer perennial questions around the presence of specific molecules of interest in the intact organism. Some of these molecules are drug targets, some are biomarkers of disease or drug action, and some are the drugs themselves.

Postdoctoral Mentor

Having post-docs in the lab brings in wonderful new perspectives and skills and encourages discussions on new topics and methodologies that could help us in our mission. Post-docs aren’t part of our “day-job” drug development efforts, but the challenges of our core work give a perspective (and resources, like reagents and instruments) so that their projects can have a big impact. Currently we are busy working on quantifying antigen density from antibody PET scans and on improved methods for ligand discovery with phage display.

Featured Publication

FDG-PET is a good biomarker of both early response and acquired resistance in BRAFV600 mutant melanomas treated with vemurafenib and the MEK inhibitor GDC-0973

EJNMMI research, 2(1), 22. doi:10.1186/2191-219X-2-22

Baudy, A. R., Dogan, T., Flores-Mercado, J. E., Hoeflich, K. P., Su, F., van Bruggen, N., & Williams, S.-P. (2012)