PROF Spencer Williams

PROF Spencer Williams


  • Carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry (carbohydrate chemistry; chemical biology)
  • Glycolipid immunology (glycoimmunology; organic chemistry)
  • Total synthesis of bioactive natural products (organic chemistry; reaction development)



  • Spencer Williams obtained his BSc and PhD (under the supervision of Professor Bob Stick) at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Following receipt of his PhD in 1998, he was an Izaac Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Stephen G Withers at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he worked on glycosidase inhibitors. In 2000 he moved to the USA where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation in the laboratory of Professor Carolyn Bertozzi, based at the University of California, Berkeley.

    He joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne in 2002. His current interests include the application of chemical synthesis, and in particular carbohydrate chemistry, to biological problems, and the development of new therapeutic agents for treatment of cardiovascular disease, pain and fibrosis in the treatment of diabetes. He is a co-author of a textbook, Carbohydrates: The essential molecules of life (by RV Stick and SJ Williams, 2009, Elsevier), and a co-founder of the company Fibrotech Therapeutics.

    Curriculum vitae: BSc (Hons) W.Aust. (1995); PhD W.Aust. (conferred 2001); Izaac Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia (SG Withers, 1998-2000); Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation, University of California at Berkeley (CR Bertozzi, 2001-2002); Lecturer, University of Melbourne (2002); Selby Research Award (2002); RACI Divisional Organic Lectureship (2005); Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne (2006); Dean's Award for Excellence in Research (2007); Rennie Memorial Medal (2008); Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (2009); Biota Award for Medicinal Chemistry (2010); Grimwade Prize for Industrial Chemistry (2011); David Syme Research Prize (2014); Professor (2016).   


Member of

  • International Carbohydrate Organization. Australian Representative 2008 -
  • Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Member 2004 -
  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Member 1994 -


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, The University of Western Australia 2001
  • BSc(Hons), The University of Western Australia 1995

Awards and honors

  • David Syme Research Prize (2014), University of Melbourne, 2014
  • Grimwade Prize for Industrial Chemistry, University of Melbourne, 2011
  • Biota Award for Medicinal Chemistry, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2010
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2009
  • Rennie Memorial Medal (2008), Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2008
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research (2007), University of Melbourne, Faculty of Science, 2007
  • Selby Research Award (2002), University of Melbourne, 2002



Available for supervision

  • Y