Mark A. Williams

Mark A. Williams

Portrait of Mark Williams

Mark A. Williams

Department Chair, Professor

Leadership Faculty
N-318 Agricultural Science Center Lexington, KY 40546-0091

Last Revised: May 31st, 2023

Professional Biography

Although my research program has always been rooted in studying the regulatory aspects of plant gene expression, I have broadened my focus since becoming faculty into the area of sustainable agriculture. In particular I am interested in evaluating and developing sustainable organic horticulture production systems. Over the last decade I have conducted a range of experiments looking at whole systems, such as optimizing diverse direct-marketed vegetable systems, to evaluating specific pest problems in cucurbits, peppers, tomatoes and apples. In the last five years I have been dedicating much of my research towards investigating the interactions between soil microbes and plants. In particular I have focused on characterizing the soil-derived microbiome inside of plants and investigating the impact at a molecular level of these associations. The long-term goal of this work is to correlate organic production practices with increased microbial migration into plants and elucidate how these microbes positively impact plant health. In addition to research I am fully committed to student learning, and have led an effort in our college to develop an undergraduate curriculum in sustainable agriculture, which I direct. As part of these efforts I developed the 25-acre Organic Farming Unit of the Horticulture Research Farm, which I manage.

Mark Williams was appointed interim chair of the Department of Horticulture in July 2018, and officially took over the role of chair on October 1, 2019.


Ph.D., Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine, 1998
Comments: Dissertation Title: RNA Editing Site Recognition in Plant Mitochondria.
B.S., Botany, University of Kentucky, 1989