Professor Steve P. Watson

Professor Steve P. Watson

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
BHF Professor in Cardiovascular Sciences and Cellular Pharmacology

Contact details

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
IBR Building
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Steve Watson is a British Heart Foundation Professor in Cardiovascular Sciences and Cellular Pharmacology.

Steve is head of the Birmingham Platelet Group. The group undertakes a multidisciplinary approach to the investigation of platelet function in health and disease with a special focus on platelet receptors and their signalling pathways. The work includes translational studies in patients with platelet function disorders.

The group is recognised for the identification of the major signalling receptor for collagen receptor on platelets, the GPVI-FcR gamma-chain complex, and the C-type lectin receptor, which plays a key role in lymphatic development.

Steve is head of the Vascular Inflammation, Thrombosis and Angiogenesis (VITA) grouping in the Section of Cardiovascular Sciences.

Steve was the 2006 winner of the Nature/Nesta mid-career award for creative mentorin

Steve Watson is a leading member of the NIHR SRMRC.  Find out more about the work of the research centre on the SRMRC website.


  • Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences 2002
  • PhD Pharmacology 1983
  • BSc Pharmacology (1st) 1980


Steve originally trained in the Universities of Leeds and Cambridge before undertaking postdoctoral studies in Burroughs Wellcome, North Carolina. He moved to the Pharmacology Department in the University of Oxford in 1985 where he was supported by series of competitive fellowships, including a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. He moved to a British Heart Foundation Professorship in Birmingham in 2004.

Steve is currently an editor / senior editor on 9 journals including Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Journal of Biological Chemistry and Biochemical Journal. Steve was a member of panel 1: Cardiovascular Sciences in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and is a former member of the British Heart Foundation Project Grants Committee.

Steve was awarded an Investigator Recognition Award in 2007 by the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis for contributions to Haemostasis.


  • 3rd Year BMedSci: lectures and dissertations
  • Tutor groupleader
  • Head of graudate studies

Postgraduate supervision

  • PhD students
  • MRes Graduate Course: lectures and dissertations


We use a multidisciplinary approach that ranges from in vitro functional and biochemical assays, to cell biology based studies on immortalised and primary cell lines, and studies in mutant mice and patients with bleeding disorders. The work is divided into five main themes:

Signalling events that underlie platelet activation by glycoprotein receptors, with special emphasis on the collagen ITAM receptor, GPVI, the ITAM-like receptor, CLEC-2 and the major platelet integrin IIb3.

The role of actin polymerisation in thrombus formation and signalling by platelet glycoprotein receptors.

The molecular basis of mild bleeding in patients with suspected defects in platelet function.

The events that underlie megakaryocytopoiesis and platelet formation.

The physiological and pathological role of platelets in a variety of cellular processes, including lymphangiogenesis, angiogenesis, inflammatory events, and major organ dysfunction (kidney, liver and lung)

Other activities


Pollitt, A.Y., Poulter, N., Gitz, E., Navarro-Nuñez, L., Wang, Y.-J., Hughes, C.E., Thomas, S.G., Nieswandt, B., Douglas, M.R., Owen, D.M., Jackson, D.G., Dustin, M.L. and Watson, S.P. (2014) Syk and Src family kinases regulate CLEC-2 mediated clustering of Podoplanin and platelet adhesion to lymphatic endothelial cells.  J. Biol. Chem. 289:35695-710

Hughes, C.E., Finney, B.A., Lowe, K.L., Koentgen, F. and Watson, S.P. (2015) The N-terminal SH2 domain of Syk is required for (hem)ITAM but not integrin signalling in mouse platelets. Blood 125, 144-154

Peters, A., Burkett, P.R., Sobel, R.A., Buckley, C.D., Watson, S.P., Bettelli, E. and Kuchroo, V.K. (2015)  Podoplanin negatively regulates CD4+ effector T cell responses.  J. Clin. Invest. 125, 129 - 140

enhance CLEC-2-mediated platelet activation by inhibition of GSK3α/β J. Thromb. Haemost. 13, 1139–1150

Poulter, N.S., Pollitt, A.Y., Davies, A., Malinova, D., Nash, G.B., Hannon, M.J., Pikrmaenou, Z., Rappoport, J.Z., Hartwig, J.H., Owen, D.M., Thrasher, A.J., Watson, S.P. & Thomas, S.G. (2015)  Platelet actin nodules are podosome-like structures dependent on Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein and ARP2/3 complex. Nature Comm. 6, Article number: 8254 doi:10.1038/ncomms8254 (15 pages)

Alshehri, O., Montague, S., Watson, S., Carter, P., Sarker, N., Manne, B.K., Le Miller, J., Herr, A.B., Pollitt, A.Y., O’Callaghan, C.A., Kunapuli, S.P., Arman, M., Hughes, C.E. & Watson, S.P. (2015) Activation of Glycoprotein VI (GPVI) and C-type Lectin-like receptor-2 (CLEC-2) underlies platelet activation by diesel exhaust particles and other charged/hydrophobic ligands.  Biochem. J. 468, 459-473

Lowe, K.L., Finney, B.A., Deppermann, C. Hägerling, R., Grazit, S., Frampton, J., Buckley, C., Camerer, E.,  Nieswandt, B., Kiefer, F. and Watson, S.P. (2015).  Podoplanin and CLEC-2 drive cerebrovascular patterning and integrity during development.  Blood 125, 1769-1777

Lowe, K.L, Navarro-Nuñez, L., Bénézech, C., Nayar, S., Kingston, B.L., Nieswandt, B., Barone, F., Watson, S.P., Buckley, C.D. and Desanti, G.E. (2015) The expression of mouse CLEC-2 on leucocyte subsets varies according to their anatomical location and inflammatory state.  Eur J Immunol. 45:2484-93

Fletcher, S., Johnson B, Lowe GC, Bem D, Drake S, Lordkipanidzé M, Sánchez Guiú I, Dawood B, Rivera J, Simpson MA, Daly ME, Motwani J, Collins PW, Watson SP and Morgan NV (2015) Consecutive SLFN14 mutations result in bleeding, thrombocytopenia and secretion defects.  J Clin Invest 125:3600-05

Alshehri, O.M., Hughes, C.E., Montague, S., Watson, S.K., Frampton, J., Bender, M. and Watson, S.P. (2015) Fibrin activates GPVI in human and mouse platelets.  Blood 126, 1601-08


Platelet activation in health and disease; platelet surface receptors and their signalling pathways, tyrosine kinase linked receptors; the platelet cytoskeleton; patients with platelet-bleeding disorders; taking antiplatelet drugs