Rebecca M. Williams

Rebecca M. Williams

Adjunct Professor
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering
Weill Hall B35


As director of Cornell's Biotechnology Resource Center's imaging core, I ensure that Cornell researchers have access to expertise and the best tools for optimally visualizing and quantitatively analyzing their experimental systems. My staff and I support advanced microscopy stations (confocal, multiphoton and super resolution), flow cytometry and sorting, high-resolution ultrasound and CT platforms, as well as more standard luminescence and fluorescence platforms. We run numerous modules and workshops for educating students and researchers on fluorescence, imaging technologies and image analysis and visualization. In addition to the day-to-day tasks inherit in running a core, I am involved in instrument acquisition efforts as well as pushing some of the more challenging imaging applications, including in vivo animal imaging at the cellular level and development of project-specific image analysis algorithms. My research background is in fluorescence biophysics and in vivo microscopy, including the analysis of the coherent SHG profile from collagen for better understanding sub-resolution collagen fibril structure and distribution associated with various disease states. My research focuses on mouse models of infertility and bone growth, with a current emphasis on the role of oxygen in growth and remodeling.

Research Interests

My research focuses on applying cellularly-resolved imaging in the tissue preparations and live animals. I collaborate with other researchers to adapt imaging strategies to understanding fundamental biophysical principles in cartilage and cancer biology. Specific research areas include the development of methods for three-dimensionally resolved oxygen imaging and the use of adaptive optics for mitigating tissue-induced optical aberrations. As director of Cornell's Microscopy and Imaging Facility, my role is to ensure that the facility is meeting the imaging needs of Cornell's research community.

Selected Publications

  • Migone, Fernando F., Robert G. Cowan, Rebecca M. Williams, Kiersten J. Gorse, Warren R. Zipfel, Susan Mary Quirk.  2016. "In vivo imaging reveals an essential role of vasoconstriction in rupture of the ovarian follicle at ovulation."  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (8): 2294-2299.
  • Roxbury, D., P V. Jena, R M. Williams, B. Enyedi, P. Niethammer, S. Marcet, M. Verhaegen, S. Blais-Ouellette, D A Heller.  2015."Hyperspectral Microscopy of Near-Infrared Fluorescence Enables 17-Chirality Carbon Nanotube Imaging.."  Scientific Reports 5: 14167-14167.
  • Seo, B R., P. Bhardwaj, S. Choi, J. Gonzalez, R C. Andresen Eguiluz, K. Wang, S. Mohanan, P G. Morris, B. Du, X K. Zhou, L T. Vahdat, A. Verma, O. Elemento, C A. Hudis, R M. Williams, D. Gourdon, A J. Dannenberg, C Fischbach.  2015. "Obesity-dependent changes in interstitial ECM mechanics promote breast tumorigenesis.."  Science translational medicine 7 (301): 301ra130-301ra130.
  • Carey, S P., A. Rahman, C M. Kraning-Rush, B. Romero, S. Somasegar, O M. Torre, R M. Williams, C A Reinhart-King.  2015."Comparative mechanisms of cancer cell migration through 3D matrix and physiological microtracks.."  American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology 308 (6): C436-C447.
  • Migone, Fernando F., Robert G. Cowan, Rebecca M. Williams, Warren R. Zipfel, Susan Mary Quirk.  2014.  "Vasoconstriction at the Apex of the Follicle is Required for Rupture at Ovulation".  Society for the Study of Reproduction Annual Meeting.


  • B.E.D. (Architecture), University of Minnesota, 1987
  • BS (Physics), University of Minnesota, 1987
  • Ph D (Physics), Cornell University, 1997