Professor Stephen Williams

Contact Information
Building: QBI Building #79
Room: 431
Tel: +61 7 3346 6352

Mailing Address

Queensland Brain Institute
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, 4072


Lab Members

Lab Home Page

Short biography

Research directions

Current collaborations

Selected publications


Short biography

Stephen Williams received BSc and PhD degrees in the United Kingdom, and conducted postdoctoral studies in the United States and Australia. He started an independent laboratory at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK in 2002 and was tenured in 2008. He relocated to the QBI in 2010.  Professor Williams is supported by an ARC Future Fellowship and currently the Freemasons Queensland Senior Research Fellow in Learning and Memory.

Research directions

Our aim is to understand how information is processed and computed by neuronal circuits, and relate this to the control of behaviour. We primarily study neuronal circuit operations in the neocortex and retina using state of the art multi-site electrophysiological and optical recording techniques. We have discovered that active dendritic integration in the output neurons of the retina and neocortex underlies behaviourally engaged circuit-level computations. Our ongoing work at the single cell level determines how regenerative activity is generated in and spreads throughout the complex dendritic tree of neurons to control action potential output and, at the network level, the neuromodulatory control of neuronal circuit operations.

Current collaborations

Jeff Magee - Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus, USA

Selected publications

Chadderton, P., et al. (2014). Synaptic integration of sensory signals in the cerebellar and cerebral cortex. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 15, 71-83.

Williams, S.R. (2013). Synchrony and the single neuron. Nature Neuroscience 16, 1714-1715.

Sivyer, B. & Williams, S.R. (2013). Direction selectivity is computed by active dendritic integration in retinal ganglion cells. Nature Neuroscience 16, 1848-1856.

Harnett, M.T., et al. (2013). Potassium channels control the interaction between active dendritic integration compartments in layer 5 cortical pyramidal neurons. Neuron, 79, 516-529.

Xu, N-L., et al. (2012). Nonlinear dendritic integration of sensory and motor input during an active sensing task. Nature 492, 247-251.

Williams S.R. & Mitchell, S.J. (2008). Direct measurement of somatic voltage clamp errors in central neurons. Nature Neuroscience 11, 790-798.

Kole, M.H.P., et al. (2008). Action potential generation requires a high sodium channel density in the axon initial segment. Nature Neuroscience 11, 178-186.

Williams, S.R., et al. (2007). The back and forth of dendritic plasticity. Neuron, 56:947-953.

Williams, S.R. (2004). Spatial compartmentalization and functional impact of conductance in pyramidal neurons. Nature Neuroscience 7, 961-967.

Williams, S.R. & Stuart, G.J. (2002). Dependence of EPSP efficacy on synapse location in neocortical pyramidal neurons. Science 295, 1907-1910.