Calvin B Williams, MD

Pediatric Rheumatology
Children’s Wisconsin since 2002
  • D.B. and Marjorie Reinhart Chair in Rheumatology
  • Chief Scientific Officer, Children’s Research Institute
  • Professor




The broad, long-term objective of research in Dr. William’s laboratory is to establish the mechanisms that promote T cell development in the thymus and maintain T cell tolerance in the periphery. He has placed special emphasis on role of Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, and have developed a number of mouse models that are widely used to study Treg cell function. Dr. Williams has a broad background in immunology, with specific training in basic science and translational investigation. As a postdoctoral fellow with Paul Allen at the Washington University School of Medicine, he investigated the role of ligand affinity in shaping the T cell repertoire during thymic development. In 2002, he was appointed Section Chief of Pediatric Rheumatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he has developed the rheumatology clinical service and established a fellowship program. In 2013, he was appointed as the Chief Scientific Officer of the Children’s Research Institute. In this role Dr. William’s coordinates the pediatric research portfolio at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Wisconsin campus and directs research investment. As a Principal Investigator on grants from the NIH and the March of Dimes, he describes T cell receptor antagonism as potent mechanism of peripheral tolerance. With additional funding from the NIH, Children’s Wisconsin and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, he expanded his research program to investigate the role of different types of Treg cells and the mechanisms of Treg cell-mediated suppression in models of inflammatory autoimmune disease. Our work has led to the identification of induced Treg cells that produce IL-10 as an essential regulatory subset. 


  • Pediatric Rheumatology

Areas of Interest

  • Pediatrics
  • Rheumatology
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Juvenile dermatomyositis
  • Juvenile spondyloarthopathies
  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Vasculitis
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Education and Awards


  • 1991, University of California (Irvine, CA), MD


  • 1993, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine - Pediatrics


  • 1996, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine - Ped Rheumatology


  • 1982 - Summer Fellowship, California Foundation for Biochemical Research
  • 1989 - Earl C. Anthony Dissertation Fellowship, University of California, Irvine CA
  • 1990 - MRES Medical Scientist Student Scholarship, University of California, Irvine CA
  • 1992 - Vincent P. Carroll, Jr. Memorial Research Award for Outstanding Research, UC Irvine CA 
  • 1997 - Scholar of the Center for Child Health Research at Washington University, St. Louis MO
  • 1998 - Basil O’Connor Research Award, March of Dimes
  • 2002 - D.B. and Marjorie Reinhart Chair in Rheumatology, Children’s Wisconsin

Research and publications


  • R01 AI085090 - Williams and Chatila (PIs) 12/10/2009 – 11/30/2014
    Mechanisms of disease pathogenesis in regulatory T cell deficiency
    The goal of this proposal is to determine the contribution of failed peripheral Foxp3– Treg cell “precursors”, the microbial flora, and modifier genes to the disease associated with Foxp3-deficiency.
    Role: PI (2.4 calendar months)
  • R01 HL064603 – Drobyski (PI) 05/27/2013 – 01/31/2017
    Regulatory T cell populations in graft versus host disease
    The goal of this proposal is to define the role of specific regulatory T cell populations in the pathophysiology of GVHD in order to develop clinically based strategies that will facilitate transplantation tolerance.
    Role: Co-investigator (1.2 calendar months)