The work of Professor Roger Williams in clinical liver disease and research has brought him a national and international reputation with many awards and which has been marked by Presidencies of both the British and European Associations for the Study of the lIver. His career in hepatology began in October 1959 when he was appointed Lecturer in Medicine to the Royal Free Hospital. Over the subsequent five years, which included a year as Rockefeller Travelling Fellow to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, his main contributions were in establishing the genetic basis of haemochromatosis, the different functional disturbances in jaundice and original studies on splenic blood flow in the genesis of portal hypertension.
Moving to King＊s College Hospital in August 1963 as Consultant Physician, he set up from scratch the Liver Unit which over the subsequent years came to encompass major research and clinical facilities, receiving grant support from the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, University of London and many other organisations. Pioneering work in liver transplantation and acute liver failure were among the many notable scientific and clinical achievements which led in time to recognition of the Unit by the University of London as an Institute of Liver Studies and by the NHS, as a supra-regional centre for liver disease.
Retiring from King＊s at the age of 65yrs, Professor Williams continued his lifetime commitment to Hepatology by moving in October 1996 to University College London where, again from scratch, he set up a new Institute, building new premises which now house some thirty-five clinical and scientific staff. There he has continued his personal research interests in liver failure including a new liver support device and liver transplantation, with the first programme in the UK for adult living donor grafts, as well as contributing to the work of the other research groups. On the clinical side, as Honorary Consultant Physician with University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, he has overseen a major expansion in the clinical services for liver disease within the Hospital and community.
Professor Williams is also the Medical Director of the Foundation for Liver Research which he started in 1973 and which has become the leading gastroenterological charity in this country. In October 2003, the Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary in the presence of the Chancellor of the University of London, HRH Princess Anne. On the charitable front, he has served as Trustee for a number of charities, was President of the British Liver Trust for a three year term and currently is Vice Chairman of the UCL Hospitals Charitable Foundation
Professor Williams has published over 2,500 papers, journals and books and has served on 22 editorial boards. Following a citation analysis from ISI the leading scientific information provider in the USA, he was honoured as ※one of the most highly cited and influential researchers in his field§.
Professor Williams＊ wider interests in medicine have included an involvement in the work of the British Society of Gastroenterology over many years. He has given the Sir Arthur Hurst Memorial Lecture and was President of the Society from 1990 - 91. At the Royal College of Physicians he was Goulstonian Lecturer and Vice-President from 1991 每 1993, during which time he organised two conferences on international healthcare, the first that the College had held in this area, as well as chairing the main Clinical Board. He has also given the Jules Thorn Memorial Lecture and currently he is the Hans Sloane Fellow and Director of the International Office. He was Honorary Consultant Physician in Medicine to the Army from 1988-2001. Other honorary positions have included the Presidency of the Harveian Society of London 1974-75 and the Chairmanship of the International Medical Club, 1990 to 1993.
Over a 50 year span of service within the National Health Service, Professor Williams has served on a large number of expert medical committees and advisory boards. For three years he was the UK representative on the European Select Committee on Organ Transplantation. He also served for two terms on the Clinical Standards Advisory Group where he was chairman of a major investigation into ※Clinical Effectivness 每 a National Study§. In the wider public arena, Professor Williams was prime mover in the setting up during 2003 of the first All Party Parliamentary Group in Liver Disease.
Personal distinctions of note comprise inclusion in the British Medical Association book entitled ※Pioneers in Medicine 每 Consultants Leading Change§ (2002) and in the book ※Succeeding as a Hospital Doctor§ (2000) in which he was one of fifteen senior doctors in the UK selected for their inspirational qualities and achievements. In 1999 Professor Williams was honoured in Barcelona as one of the four hepatologists who had done most to make hepatology into a real discipline in Europe today. In 2003 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) and in 2004 the Wyeth Senior Achievement Award in Clinical Transplantation from the American Society of Transplantation.
Professor Williams has received many awards and prizes including the Legg Award of the Royal Free Hospital; the Nightingale Prize of the International Federation of Medical and Biochemical Engineering and in 1992, the Gold Medal of the Canadian Liver Foundation. In 1994 he was awarded the Hospital Doctor of the Year Award for Gastroenterology. A signal honour was his election as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in recognition of his contribution to the development of liver transplantation. He has also been given the Fellowship of the Edinburgh College and that of the Royal College of Physicians of Australasia. In 1992 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Physicians and in 2002 that of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He was made a Fellow of King＊s College, London in 1992.
Recent named lectures include the Telfer Reynolds State of the Art Lecture at the University of Southern California (1998); the J Edward Berk Distinguished Lecture at the American College of Gastroenterology (2002); the Edward F Heil Endowed Lecture in Liver Transplantation, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA (2005); 15th Seah Cheng Siang Memorial Lecture at the College of Physicians of Singapore (2006); the Presidential Lecture of the Shanghai Hong Kong International Liver Congress (2006) and most recently the FitzPatrick Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians (2006).
Professor Williams was appointed CBE for Services to Medicine in the Queen＊s Birthday Honours list of 1993 and in 2006 was honoured by the Queen to be included in a celebration for those who continue to contribute to public service after the age of 65yrs.