Department of Cell Systems & Anatomy

CSA Emeritus Faculty


Vick Williams, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus


University of Texas Medical Branch, 1964


As part of the small cadre of faculty members of the new University of Texas Dental School at San Antonio, Dr. Williams welcomed the first class of students in 1970 and subsequently participated in the School's growth to national prominence. Upon his retirement from the UTHSCSA in 2011, he became the last of that original group to leave the faculty and had been involved in the anatomical instruction of every first-year student of the Dental School, except for academic year 1993-94 when he was away on leave.


In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Williams' UTHSCSA career involved 20+ years' service as director of the Willed Body Program, the Gross Anatomy Laboratories, and Anatomical Services. In conjunction with these duties, he supervised establishment of a campus memorial park for burial of body donors' cremated remains and instituted an annual burial commemorative observance, consisting mainly of reflections presented by students, which has been continued by successive program directors. He also served as UTHSCSA's representative to the Anatomical Board of the State of Texas, elected as Vice-chair for five years and Chair for six.


Two of Dr. Williams' cherished honors include election to honorary membership in Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the dental national honor society, and the placement of his name on the award given to the first-year dental student for highest achievement in gross anatomy.


After retiring from employment by the U.T. System that spanned 50 years, Dr. Williams moved to Boulder, Colorado, to be near a daughter whose family lives there; however, he continues to enjoy teaching occasionally in the anatomy laboratories of the UTHSCSA and of the University of Colorado at Denver.


At left, Dr.Vick Williams receives his 50 Years of Service Award from Mr. Michael Black, Senior Executive Vice President, and Dr. William Henrich, President, of UTHSCSA.


Dr. Williams' primary teaching assignment was in the gross anatomy course for first-year dental students. With advice from clinical dental faculty colleagues, he designed the course, developed dissections and lectures, modified the course to accommodate curricular changes, directed the course for the first 22 years of its existence, and continued to teach in the course through 2011. He also developed and offered elective anatomy courses for dental students, taught in the dental neuroanatomy laboratory between 1992 and 2010, and served as a tutor in Dental Professional Ethics courses from 2000 to 2007. In the 1980s he taught head and neck anatomy review courses for residents in prosthodontics and periodontics (UTHSCSA) and in oral surgery (Wilford Hall USAF Hospital); from the mid-1990s he has taught in the anatomy section of the UTHSCSA Preceptorship in Dental Implantology. In addition to teaching in these dental programs, he has provided laboratory instruction in the gross anatomy course for medical students from 1983.


During the 1993-94 academic year, Dr. Williams taught anatomy and developed teaching materials at the Christian Medical College at Vellore, India. Later in that decade he returned for several months to expand the instructional development project, serving as Visiting Professor, and has continued to consult with international faculty to promote cooperation among anatomists. Photo Gallery of the Christian Medical College at Vellore, India


In 2008, Dr. Williams assisted with arrangements for Dr. Charleen Moore's History of Anatomy in situ course, which involved conferring with Italian anatomists where teaching by dissection was re-invented during the renaissance, and for several years taught in the UTHSCSA Workshop in Regional Anatomy for Foreign Medical Students, which grew out of the "Anatomy in situ" experience. Photo Gallery of Anatomical Sites in Italy & Spain



  2010 Distinguished Teaching Professor by the U.T. Board of Regents
  2008 UTHSCSA Academy of Master Teachers inducted as Charter Member
  2003 Teaching Excellence Award by the Dental School Faculty Assembly
  1983 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching by UTHSCSA
  1981 Outstanding Faculty Award by First-year Dental Class
  1979; 1979 Director of Best Course Award by First-year Dental Class


Although Dr. Williams began his faculty appointment in San Antonio as a rather conventional academic neuroscientist studying ultrastructural effects of ischemia on the central nervous system and changes resulting from recovery, loss of extramural funding and shifts in departmental priorities in the 1980s led to his re-assignment to full-time teaching responsibilities and administrative duties. Since that time, his developmental effort has been devoted to documenting anatomical variations in human cadavers, assisting Dr. Charleen Moore in her study of congenital malformations in non-human primates, and applying electronic media to facilitate students' acquisition of the visual learning skills that are required to support a working knowledge of the anatomy of the human body. The latter endeavor has included the design and generation of computer-assisted instruction, self-instructional compact disks, and recordings of prosection demonstrations on 16mm movie film or videotape. However, more recently this venture has entailed the production of a series of 29 high-definition digital videorecordings of dissections, demonstrating procedural techniques as well as the form and location of anatomical features that health science students need to know. Although designed primarily for the dental gross anatomy course, these video demonstrations are also adaptable for use as ancillary instructional materials in other anatomy courses.

Here, Dr. Williams is dissecting,
Will Underwood is doing
the videorecording, and
Dr. Patricia A. Brewer is playing
segments of the audiotape of the
script to pace the videorecording.


This image shows
Dr. Williams dissecting,
Will Underwood videorecording and
Dr. Omid B. Rahimi providing
advice on the dissection.


Recent Publications:
Williams V, Bartanuszova M, Rahimi OB, Moore CM. A rare variant of the great cardiac vein. Int J Anat Var (IJAV) 2013 Jul; 6:112-114.


Moore CM, Dick EJ Jr, Hubbard GB, Gardner SM, Dunn BG, Brothman AR, Williams V, Prajapati SI, Keller C, Davis MD. Craniorachischisis and omphalocele in a stillborn cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis). Am J Med Genet A. 2011 Jun;155A(6):1367-73.


Moore CM, Hubbard GB, Dick E, Dunn BG, Raveendran M, Rogers J, Williams V, Gomez JJ, Butler SD, Leland MM, Schlabritz-Loutsevitch NE. Trisomy 17 in a baboon (Papio hamadryas) with polydactyly, patent foramen ovale and pyelectasis. Am J Primatol. 2007 Oct;69(10):1105-18.


Cheng MK, Robertson C, Grossman RG, Foltz R, Williams V. Neurological outcome correlated with spinal evoked potentials in a spinal cord ischemia model. J Neurosurg. 1984 Apr;60(4):786-95.


Dolwick MF, Lipton JS, Warner MR, Williams VF. Sagittal anatomy of the human temporomandibular joint spaces: normal and abnormal findings.J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1983 Feb;41(2):86-8.


Representative Publications:
Williams V. Intercellular relationships in the external glial limiting membrane of the neocortex of the cat and rat. Am J Anat. 1975 Dec;144(4):421-31.


Matthews MA, Willis WD, Williams V. Dendrite bundles in lamina IX of cat spinal cord: a possible source for electrical interaction between motoneurons? Anat Rec. 1971 Oct;171(2):313-27.


Williams V, Grossman RG. Ultrastructure of cortical synapses after failure of presynaptic activity in ischemia. Anat Rec. 1970 Feb;166(2):131-41.