Professor Steve P. Watson

Professor Steve P. Watson

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
BHF Professor in Cardiovascular Sciences and Cellular Pharmacology
Deputy Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (Non-clinical)

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.

4835_UoN_COMPARE_Logo_Colour_V6Steve is the Co-Director of The Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE), a unique collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham that brings together leading researchers to develop novel methods for visualising single membrane proteins and to use these to identify new approaches for prevention and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

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 mentoring.


  • 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 Postgraudate Studies

Postgraduate supervision

Steve currently has openings for self-funded PhD students in the areas of:

(i) platelet surface receptors and their signalling pathways and
(ii) the role of platelets in inflammatory processes.

Please email


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

Deputy Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (Non-clinical)


Payne H, Ponomaryov T, Watson SP and Brill A (2017) Mice with a deficiency in CLEC-2 are protected against deep vein thrombosisBlood in press.

Lozano ML, Cook A, Bastida JM, Paul DS, Iruin G, Cid AR, Adan-Pedroso R, González-Porras JR, Hernández-Rivas JM, Fletcher SJ, Johnson B, Morgan N, Ferrer-Marin F, Vicente V, Sondek J, Watson SP, Bergmeier W and Rivera J (2016)  Novel mutations in RASGRP2 encoding for CalDAG-GEFI abrogate Rap1 activation causing platelet dysfunction. Blood 128, 1282 - 89

Poulter NS, Pollitt AY, Davies A, Malinova D, Nash GB, Hannon MJ, Pikrmaenou Z, Rappoport JZ, Hartwig JH, Owen DM, Thrasher AJ, Watson SP and Thomas SG (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)

Lowe KL, Finney BA, Deppermann C, Hägerling R, Grazit S, Frampton J, Buckley C, Camerer E,  Nieswandt B, Kiefer F and Watson SP (2015).  Podoplanin and CLEC-2 drive cerebrovascular patterning and integrity during development.  Blood 125, 3769-77

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 OM, Hughes CE, Montague S, Watson SK, Frampton J, Bender M and Watson SP (2015) Fibrin activates GPVI in human and mouse platelets.  Blood 126, 1601-08

Pollitt, AY, Poulter N, Gitz E, Navarro-Nuñez L, Wang YJ, Hughes CE, Thomas SG, Nieswandt B, Douglas MR, Owen DM, Jackson DG, Dustin ML and Watson SP. (2014) Syk and Src family kinases regulate CLEC-2 mediated clustering of Podoplanin and platelet adhesion to lymphatic endothelial cellsJ. Biol. Chem. 289:35695-710


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