Cranos Williams is the Goodnight Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Analytics at North Carolina State University with primary and secondary appointments in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Plant and Microbial Biology departments, respectively. He also serves as the Platform Director of the Data-Driven Plant Sciences research platform of the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (https://cals.ncsu.edu/psi/). He received his B.S. in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University in 2001, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in 2002 and 2008, respectively. Williams joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at NC State University as an assistant professor in 2008.
Since joining the faculty in 2008, Williams has built an internationally recognized research program in Plant Systems Biology and Engineering (PSB/E) and has led inter-institutional collaborations to advance next-generation sustainable agricultural technology solutions. He is the head of the EnBiSys (Engineering Computational Methodologies for Multi-hierarchical Biological Systems) Research Laboratory (https://research.ece.ncsu.edu/enbisys/), which focuses on the development of computational and analytical solutions for modeling and understanding molecular processes that impact plant growth, development, and adaptation. His research lab develops methodologies familiar to other areas of electrical and computer engineering (e.g. computational intelligence, system identification, nonlinear systems analysis and control, and signal processing) to model and predict the impact that genetic and environmental perturbations have on overall plant response. Recent projects include the development of integrative computational frameworks for modeling the regulation of the iron deprivation response in A. thaliana, multiscale modeling approaches for predicting how regulation and biosynthesis of monolignols in P. trichocarpa impact lignin and wood properties, computational approaches for assessing multiple levels of gene expression regulation (transcriptional and translational) in A. thaliana and tomato in response to ethylene and auxin stress, and 4D analysis and characterization of microscopy images for understanding plant morphology. The results from these works will have direct implications on key challenges associated with engineering plants for efficient biofuel production, increased adaptability to changing environments, and improved defense to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Williams is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was awarded the Alcoa Foundation Research Achievement Award in 2019, the Alumni Associated Outstanding Research Award in 2021, and was inducted into the Research Leadership Academy in 2021. In 2019, he was selected to attend the National Academy of Engineering 2019 Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. His role in STEPS is to help accomplish Convergence Informatics workflow goals, specifically the extension of this workflow to heterogeneous plant data at molecular, physiological, and agronomic levels.Cranos Williams