Dr. Aurelia A. Williams majored in Biochemistry and Zoology at the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), now known as the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Her life as a researcherbegan during her B.Sc. Honours year, where she investigated the role of excess iron during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. As part of her M.Sc. (2005), she investigated the ability of the chelator, desferrioxamine, to concurrently treat HIV and Mycobacterium tuberculosisinfections under conditions of iron overload.
Dr. Williams then branched off into the omicsfield, of which she received her Ph.D.at the University of Pretoria (2012), investigating the use of metabolomics and multiparametric flow cytometry for measuring HIV-induced metabolic and immune changes, respectively. Since metabolomics was new at the time and the knowledge thereof limited, Dr. Williams pursued post-doctoral studies in the metabolomics of cancer, under the supervision of Prof Tracy Richmond McKnight at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as suggested/supported by her Ph.D.supervisor, Prof Debra Meyer. At UCSF, Dr. Williams investigated the downstream effects of molecular traits on glioma (brain tumour) metabolism and growth behaviour. As such, her work yielded several awards and invitations to attend both national and international workshops as well as conferences.
Dr. Williams is now a senior lecturer at the NWU: biochemistry department. Her research interests include characterising the impact of molecular traits, metabolism and the immune response on disease pathogenesis. Metabolomics will serve as a tool to this end and aid in better characterising infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, HIV-associated comorbidities, virus-host interactions, treatment response mechanisms and pathogenesis-associated phenotypes. In addition, she is deputy secretary for Metabolomics South Africa (MSA) and is also a member of the SASBMB, where she served as part of SASBMB/FASBMB’s 2018 conferenceplanningandscientificcommittee. Other professional memberships and affiliations are with the International Society for Infectious Diseases, the Pan-African Cytometry Association (PACA) and Golden Key International Honour Society.