Ellita T. Williams, PhD
Scientist | Clinician
I am a highly motivated, self-starting, and knowledgeable Life Science PhD and clinician (BSN, RN) with an established personal and scientific credibility.
Completing my Doctorate in Nursing Science from the world-class School of Nursing at the University of Washington, my research focused on how patients with moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) sleep while hospitalized in an acute care setting, an important insight that influences neurological recovery. This work is translational and important for personalized medicine and novel therapeutics that seek to optimize the clinical and biological processes that curb chronic or acute neurodegenerative diseases.
Areas of Expertise
My primary research interest is understanding the bidirectional relationship between sleep and brain health. As such, there are two main areas of sleep and brain health that I've explored in my work. The first area --addressing the neurotrauma aspect of brain health-- uncovers how patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) sleep while in the hospital. The second area--addressing the neurogenerative aspect of brain health-- explores how sleep apnea influences progression to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's Disease (AD) in at-risk, elderly populations.
Relating to these two main areas, the research project's I've worked on and led have deepened my understanding of sleep and brain health. Some key experiences I've had include, but are not limited to :
- Human Subjects Research
- Good Clinical Practice guidelines
- Institutional Review Board applications
- Actigraphy (ACT) , Scoring, & Data Analysis
- Polysomnography (PSG) Analyses
- Statistical Analysis of Sleep Metrics (PSG & ACT)
- Primary Data Collection and Recruitment
- Medical Record Extraction
- Molecular Genetics (OXPHOS Pathway, SNPs)
- Neuroimmunology & Inflammation
- Amyloid Beta & Tau
- Environmental Exposure Analyses
Grants and Fellowships
TL1 Scholar, NIH-Funded, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (2013 - 2015) | University of Washington | Mentors: Hilaire Thompson & Joie Whitney
F31 Scholar, NIH-Funded, National Institute of Nursing Research (2015- 2017) | University of Washington School of Nursing | Mentors: Hilaire Thompson; Pamela Mitchell; Doris Boutain; Shauna Carlise; Diana Taibi-Buchannan; Marty Cohen; Noah Simon
T32 Fellow, NIH-Funded, National Institute of Nursing Research, "Targeted Research and Academic Training for Nurses in Genomics" (2017 - 2019) | University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing | Mentors: Yvette Conley; Dan Buysse; Esa Davis
T32 Fellow, NIH-Funded, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, "Underrepresented Minorities in Behavioral & Cardiovascular Health Research" (2020 - 2021) | NYU Langone Health Grossman School of Medicine | Mentors: Girardin Jean-Louis; Olugbenga Ogedegbe; Andrew Varga; Indu Ayappa
COMRADE Scholar, NIH-Funded, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Congruent Mentorship to Reach Academic Diversity (COMRADE) Neuroscience Research" (2018- 2019) | NYU Langone Health Grossman School of Medicine
SGI Fellow, NIH-Funded, National Institute of Nursing Research, "Summer Genetics Institute (SGI)" (2018) | National Institutes of Health Main Campus (Bethesda, MD)
Bubu, O. M., Williams, E. T* (Joint first-author)…Mbah, A. K., de Leon, M., Rapoport, D. M., Ayappa, I., Ogedegbe, G., Jean-Louis, G., Masurkar, A. V., … Osorio, R. S. (2021). Interactive Associations of Neuropsychiatry Inventory-Questionnaire Assessed Sleep Disturbance and Vascular Risk on Alzheimer's Disease Stage Progression in Clinically Normal Older Adults. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 13, 763264. doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2021.763264., PMID: 34955813; PMCID: PMC8704133.
Jean-Louis, G., Shochat, T., Youngstedt, S. D., Briggs, A. Q., Williams, E. T., Jin, P., Bubu, O. M., & Seixas, A. A. (2021). Age-associated differences in sleep duration in the US population: potential effects of disease burden. Sleep medicine, 87, 168–173. doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2021.09.004., Epub 2021 Sep 20. PMID: 34619501.
Williams, E. T., Bubu, O. M., Seixas, A., Sarpong, D. F., & Jean-Louis, G. (2021). Ambient Stimuli Perpetuate Nighttime Sleep Disturbances in Hospital Patients With TBI. Biological research for nursing. 23(4), 637-645.doi.org/10.1177/10998004211016060., Epub 2021 May 13. PMID: 33982620; PMCID: PMC8726421.
Williams E.T., Buchanan D.T., Buysse D.J., Thompson H.J. (2019).Injury, Sleep, and functional outcome in hospital patients with Traumatic Brain Injury . Journal of Neuroscience Nursing. Jun;51(3):134-141. PubMed PMID: 30964844; NIHMSID: NIHMS1520029; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6788776
Cheng, C., Chi, N., Williams, E. T. & Thompson, H. (2018). Examining age‐related differences in functional domain impairment following traumatic brain injury. International Journal of Older People Nursing, e12208, doi.org/10.1111/opn.12208
Cheng, C., Chi, N., Williams, E. T. & Thompson, H. (2017). Examining relationship between pre-injury pain and functional status following traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 34: A139-140.
Williams, E. T. & Thompson, H.J. (2017). Sleep of Intermediate Care Patients with TBI: Role of Nursing Activities during Nighttime Hours. Journal of Nursing Doctoral Students Scholarship, 5:48-60.
Buchanan, D. T., McCurry, S. M., Eilers, K., Applin, S., Williams, E. T., & Voss, J. G. (2016). Brief Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia in Persons Living with HIV. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 1–18.
Norris, A. E., Torres-Tomas, S., & Williams, E. T. (2014). Adapting cognitive interviewing for early adolescent Hispanic girls and sensitive topics. Hispanic Health care International, 111-119
Norris, A. E. & Williams, E. (2012). Early adolescent latinas and non-coital sexual behavior: Individual, social, and parental variables. UCF Undergraduate Research Journal, 6, 1-9.
Williams, E. T., Viera, D., Mullins, A., & Hardin, D. (in progress, 2022). Sleep and Cognition in People with TBI, Concussion, and CTE: A Scoping Review.
SLEEP, Virtual, 2021. Ellita [T.] Williams, Anna Mullins, Omonigho Bubu, Korey Kam, Ankit Parekh, Judite Blanc, Tiffany Donley, Anthony Briggs, April Rogers, Azizi Seixas, David Rapoport, Indu Ayappa, Giardin Jean-Louis, Kristen Dams-O’Conner, & Andrew Varga. Similarities of Sleep Macrostructure in Cognitively Normal Elderly and Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury.
SLEEP, Virtual, 2021. Jesse Moore, Ellita [T.] Williams, Collin Popp, Anthony Briggs, Judite Blanc, Giardin Jean-Louis, & Azizi Seixas. Reported Restful Sleep Predicting Emotional Distress: Does Exercise (And Its Modalities) Moderate?
SLEEP, Virtual, 2021. Omonigho Bubu, Arlener Turner, Ogie Umasabor-Bubu,Korey Kam, Anna Mullins, Ankit Parekh, Ellita [T.] Williams, Judite Blanc, Natasha Williams, David Rapoport, Andrew Varga, Indu Ayappa, Giardin Jean-Louis, & Ricardo Osorio. Association of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Severity and Novel Plasma Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology.
University of Pittsburgh Sleep and Circadian Science Research Day. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 2018. Ellita T. Williams, Diana Taibi Buchanan, & Daniel J. Buysse, Hilaire J. Thompson. Influence of Traumatic Brain Injury on Sleep and Functional Outcome.
International Society of Nurses in Genetics. Orlando, Florida. 2018. Ellita T. Williams., John Shaffer., Ava Puccio., David Okonkwo., Daniel Weeks., & Yvette Conley. Methylation of genes in the OXPHOS Pathway and Functional Outcome Following TBI.
SLEEP, Baltimore, Maryland. 2018. Ellita T. Williams, Letitia Y. Graves, Kyeongra Yang, & Eileen Chasens. Predictors of Abnormal Sleep Duration in Older Adults With and Without Arthritis.
National Neurotrauma Symposium, Snowbird, Utah. July 2017. Sunny Cheng, Nai-Ching Chi, Ellita T. Williams, & Hilaire J. Thompson. Examining relationship between pre-injury pain and functional status following traumatic brain injury.
Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS), Washington, D.C.), Sept. 2016. Ellita T. Williams, Martin Cohen, & Hilaire Thompson., Hospital Noise: Testing and Refining a Sound Level Meter Used in a Novel Multi-Se[ns]ing Prototype.
Western Institute of Nursing (WIN), California, Apr. 2016. Ellita T. Williams, Human Subjects Issues: Research in Hospitalized Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Western Institute of Nursing (WIN), Washington, Apr. 2014 . Ellita T. Williams & Hilaire Thompson., Sleep, Fatigue, and Nursing Care Delivery: Acute-Care Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Patients
Western Institute of Nursing (WIN), California, Apr. 2013. Da Won Baik, Nai-Ching Chi, Mee Kyung Lee, Seung Eun Park, Ellita T. Williams, Joachim G. Voss., Paradigm Shifts: Evolution of Philosophy Courses in the UW PhD Nursing Program
Showcase of Undergraduate Research (S.U.R.E), University of Central Florida, Apr. 2011. Norris, A. E. & Williams, E. T., Comparing middle school Latinas who have and have not participated in various sexual behaviors
Out and About In Chicago...
St. Patrick's Day 2022. Chicago's long held tradition of dying the Chicago River green lives on.
Groundbreaking ceremony for the Boys and Girls Club, 2022. Chicago's Westside. Standing along some of members of leadership for Chicago Police Department.
Inglewood Beautification Project 2022. CVS Health and Bank of America Employees partner with MyBlock MyHood MyCity.
Women in Bio, Alzheimer's Disease Event: "Connecting the Dots | Alzheimer's Disease , Therapies, and Caregiving" @ Portal Innovations in Chicago's West Loop. I worked with my team in Women in Bio's Programming Department to organize the event. I was also on a Panelist as a Caregiver SME along with SMEs in law, gerontology, finance, and AD Research, (left to right, Kerry Peck, JD; Julie Lopez, CFP; Neelum Aggarwal, MD; Rebecca Edelmayer, PhD; Ellita T. Williams, PhD, RN).