Spencer Williams obtained his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Western Australia in 1994, then completed his PhD at UWA with Prof Bob Stick, in the area of carbohydrate chemistry. He undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia with Steve Withers coinciding with a year long sabbatical by Peter Wall catalytic visitor Gideon Davies. Contemporaries of the period included Harry Brumer, David Vocadlo and Al Boraston. This was followed by another postdoctoral fellowship and at University of California at Berkeley with Carolyn Bertozzi. In 2002 he moved to the University of Melbourne, where he is Associate Professor. His research interests concern the development of substrates and inhibitors of carbohydrate processing enzymes, particularly those that transfer mannose. Additionally, he has interests in the area of sulfuryl group transfer, medicinal chemistry, and glycoimmunology.