Professor Steve P. Watson

Professor Steve P. Watson

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
British Heart Foundation (BHF) Professor in Cardiovascular Sciences and Cellular Pharmacology
Director of the BHF Accelerator Grant

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 which consists of more than 40 researchers (>10 PIs) investigating haemostatic and non-haemostatic functions of platelets in health and disease. 

Steve’s research interests focus on mechanisms of platelet activation by tyrosine kinase-linked receptors (notably CLEC-2, FcgammaRIIA, GPVI and PEAR1) and in developing novel antiplatelet agents that target these receptors in thrombi-inflammatory disease.   

COMPARE logoSteve is the founding 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 cardiovascular disease. 

Steve is currently a Trustee of The British Pharmacological Society and Platelet Society, and a member of the grant  funding panels: Heart Research UK and The Barts Charity.

Steve is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2002) and was the 2006 winner of the Nature/Nesta mid-career award for creative mentoring.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7846-7423


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


Steve trained in the Universities of Leeds and Cambridge before undertaking postdoctoral studies in Burroughs Wellcome, North Carolina. He moved to the Department of Pharmacology 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 Watson and Graham Wallace are the co-Directors of the Wellcome Trust 4 Year Programme on Mechanisms of Inflammatory Disease

Postgraduate supervision

Steve currently supervises 1 PhD student.

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 e-mail Professor Watson directly.


Steve’s undertakes a multi- and inter-disciplinary to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying platelet activation by tyrosine kinase linked glycoprotein receptors. Steve’s research focuses on the collagen receptor, GPVI, the podoplanin receptor, CLEC-2, the low affinity immune receptor, FcgammaRIIA, and the proteoglycan receptor PEAR1.

Steve uses advanced microscopy (FCS and single molecule), molecular modelling (ODE and agent-based), crystallography, cell line studies and protein phosphorylation to study the mechanisms of receptor activation.

Steve has developed a series of high affinity antibodies and nanobodies that block CLEC-2 and GPVI and is aiming to translate these to early phase clinical trial in thrombo-inflammatory diseases.  Steve is working with Pip Nicolson and Mark Thomas in repurposing inhibitors of Syk and Btk as novel antiplatelets in thrombosis and thrombo-inflammatory disorders.  

With Pip Nicolson, Steve is also investigating the mechanisms of the thrombosis in patients with vaccine-induced immune thrombosis and thrombocytopenia.

Steve’s research is funded by the BBSRC, British Heart Foundation, MRC, NIHR and Wellcome Trust.  

Other activities

  • Steve is the Lead of the BHF Accelerator Grant which was award in recognition of the world-leading research in thrombo-inflammation and atrial fibrillation. The grant is used to support early career researchers transitioning to independence, interdisciplinary research and early phase translation projects
  • Steve is the co-lead with Dipak Kotecha of the Biomedical Research Centre theme on thrombo-inflammation
  • Steve is a co-PI on the Liberate Phase II trial studying the GPVI-blocker glenzocimab in acute coronary syndromes (leads: Jon Townend and Mark Thomas)


Recent publications


Bourne, JH, Perrella, G, El-Awaisi, J, Terry, LV, Tinkova, V, Hogg, RL, Gant, P, Grygielska, B, Kalia, N, Kavanagh, D, Brill, A, Dimitrov, JD, Watson, SP & Rayes, J 2024, 'Hydroxychloroquine inhibits hemolysis-induced arterial thrombosis ex vivo and improves lung perfusion in hemin-treated mice', Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Wang, X, Slater, A, Lee, SC, Harrison, N, Pollock, NL, Bakker, SE, Navarro, S, Nieswandt, B, Dafforn, TR, García, Á, Watson, SP & Tomlinson, MG 2024, 'Purification and characterisation of the platelet-activating GPVI/FcRγ complex in SMALPs', Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol. 754, 109944.

Martin, E, Clark, J, Montague, S, Moran, LA, Di, Y, Bull, LJ, Whittle, L, Raka, F, Buka, R, Zafar, I, Kardeby, C, Slater, A & Watson, S 2024, 'Trivalent nanobody-based ligands mediate powerful activation of GPVI, CLEC-2 and PEAR1 in human platelets whereas FcγRIIA requires a tetravalent ligand', Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 271-285.

Alenazy, F, Harbi, M, Kavanagh, D, Price, J, Brady, P, Hargreaves, O, Harrison, P, Slater, A, Tiwari, A, Nicolson, P, Connolly, D, Kirchhof, P, Kalia, N, Jandrot-Perrus, M, Mangin, PH, Watson, S & Thomas, MR 2023, 'Amplified inhibition of atherosclerotic plaque-induced platelet activation by glenzocimab with dual antiplatelet therapy JTH', Journal of thrombosis and haemostasis : JTH, vol. 21, no. 11, pp. 3236-3251.

Schönichen, C, Montague, SJ, Brouns, SLN, Burston, JJ, Cosemans, JMEM, Jurk, K, Kehrel, BE, Koenen, RR, Ní Áinle, F, O'Donnell, VB, Soehnlein, O, Watson, SP, Kuijpers, MJE, Heemskerk, JWM & Nagy, M 2023, 'Antagonistic Roles of Human Platelet Integrin αIIbβ3 and Chemokines in Regulating Neutrophil Activation and Fate on Arterial Thrombi Under Flow', Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Damaskinaki, F-N, Jooss, NJ, Martin, EM, Clark, JC, Thomas, MR, Poulter, NS, Emsley, J, Kellam, B, Watson, SP & Slater, A 2023, 'Characterizing the binding of glycoprotein VI with nanobody 35 reveals a novel monomeric structure of glycoprotein VI where the conformation of D1+D2 is independent of dimerization', Journal of thrombosis and haemostasis : JTH, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 317-328.

Clark, JC, Martin, EM, Morán, LA, Di, Y, Wang, X, Zuidscherwoude, M, Brown, HC, Kavanagh, DM, Hummert, J, Eble, JA, Nieswandt, B, Stegner, D, Pollitt, AY, Herten, D, Tomlinson, MG, García, A & Watson, SP 2023, 'Divalent nanobodies to platelet CLEC-2 can serve as agonists or antagonists', Communications Biology, vol. 6, no. 1, 376.

Gauer, J, Duval, C, Xu, R-G, Macrae, FL, McPherson, H, Tiede, C, Tomlinson, D, Watson, S & Ariëns, RAS 2023, 'Fibrin-glycoprotein VI interaction increases platelet procoagulant activity and impacts clot structure', Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 667-681.

Kardeby, C, Evans, A, Campos, J, Al-Wahaibi, AM, Smith, C, Slater, A, Martin, E, Severin, S, Brill, A, Pejler, G, Sun, Y & Watson, S 2023, 'Heparin and heparin proteoglycan-mimetics activate platelets via PEAR1 and PI3Kβ', Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 101-116.

Buka, R, Montague, S, Moran, LA, Martin, E, Slater, A, Watson, S & Nicolson, P 2023, 'PF4 activates the c-Mpl-Jak2 pathway in platelets', Blood.

Jooss, NJ, Smith, CW, Pike, JA, Farndale, RW, Henskens, YMC, Watson, SP, Heemskerk, JWM & Poulter, NS 2023, 'Platelet glycoprotein VI cluster size is related to thrombus formation and phosphatidylserine exposure in collagen-adherent platelets under arterial shear', Journal of thrombosis and haemostasis : JTH, vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 2260-2267.

Clark, J, Watson, S & Owen, D 2023, 'Validation of agent-based models of surface receptor oligomerisation', Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, vol. 44, no. 10, pp. 643-646.

Kemble, S, Dalby, A, Lowe, G, Nicolson, P, Watson, S, Senis, Y, Thomas, S & Harrison, P 2022, 'Analysis of preplatelets and their barbell platelet derivatives by imaging flow cytometry', Blood Advances, vol. 6, no. 9, pp. 2932–2946.

Jooss, NJ, Smith, CW, Slater, A, Montague, SJ, Di, Y, O'shea, C, Thomas, MR, Henskens, YMC, Heemskerk, JWM, Watson, SP & Poulter, NS 2022, 'Anti-GPVI nanobody blocks collagen- and atherosclerotic plaque-induced GPVI clustering, signaling and thrombus formation', Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 20, no. 11, pp. 2617-2631.


Brown, HC, Beck, S, Navarro, S, Di, Y, Soriano jerez, EM, Kaczmarzyk, J, Thomas, SG, Mirakaj, V, Watson, SP, Nieswandt, B & Stegner, D 2023, 'Antibody-mediated depletion of human CLEC-2 in a novel humanized mouse model', Blood Advances, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 997–1000.

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