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


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, Slater, 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.

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.

Montague, S, Smith, C, Lodwick, CS, Stoneley, C, Roberts, M, Lowe, G, Lester, W, Watson, S & Nicolson, P 2022, 'Anti-platelet factor 4 immunoglobulin G levels in vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis: persistent positivity through 7 months', Research and Practice in Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 6, no. 3, e12707.

Harbi, M, Smith, C, Alenazy, F, Nicolson, P, Tiwari, A, Watson, S & Thomas, MR 2022, 'Antithrombotic effects of fostamatinib in combination with conventional antiplatelet drugs', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 23, no. 13, 6982.

Maqsood, Z, Clark, JC, Martin, EM, Cheung, YFH, Morán, LA, Watson, SET, Pike, JA, Di, Y, Poulter, NS, Slater, A, Lange, BMH, Nieswandt, B, Eble, JA, Tomlinson, MG, Owen, DM, Stegner, D, Bridge, LJ, Wierling, C & Watson, SP 2022, 'Experimental validation of computerised models of clustering of platelet glycoprotein receptors that signal via tandem SH2 domain proteins', PLoS Computational Biology, vol. 18, no. 11, e1010708.

Cheung, HYF, Moran, LA, Sickmann, A, Heemskerk, JWM, Garcia, Á & Watson, SP 2022, 'Inhibition of Src but not Syk causes weak reversal of GPVI-mediated platelet aggregation measured by light transmission aggregometry', Platelets, vol. 33, no. 8, pp. 1-8.

Morán, LA, Di, Y, Sowa, MA, Hermida-Nogueira, L, Barrachina, MN, Martin, E, Clark, JC, Mize, TH, Eble, JA, Moreira, D, Pollitt, AY, Loza, MI, Domínguez, E, Watson, SP & García, Á 2022, 'Katacine is a new ligand of CLEC-2 that acts as a platelet agonist', Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 122, no. 08, pp. 1361-1368.

Neagoe, RAI, Gardiner, EE, Stegner, D, Nieswandt, B, Watson, S & Poulter, N 2022, 'Rac inhibition causes impaired GPVI signalling in human platelets through GPVI shedding and reduction of PLCγ2 phosphorylation', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 23, no. 7, 3746.

Perrella, G, Montague, SJ, Brown, HC, Garcia Quintanilla, L, Slater, A, Stegner, D, Thomas, M, Heemskerk, JWM & Watson, SP 2022, 'Role of Tyrosine Kinase Syk in Thrombus Stabilisation at High Shear', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 23, no. 1, 493.

Colicchia, M, Schrottmaier, WC, Perrella, G, Reyat, JS, Begum, J, Slater, A, Price, J, Clark, JC, Zhi, Z, Simpson, M, Bourne, J, Poulter, NS, Khan, AO, Nicolson, PLR, Pugh, MR, Harrison, P, Iqbal, AJ, Rainger, GE, Watson, SP, Thomas, MR, Mutch, NJ, Assinger, A & Rayes, J 2022, 'S100A8/A9 drives the formation of procoagulant platelets through GPIbα', Blood.

Lamerton, R, Marcial-Juarez, E, Faustini, S, Perez-Toledo, M, Goodall, M, Jossi, S, Newby, ML, Chapple, I, Dietrich, T, Veenith, T, Shields, A, Harper, L, Henderson, I, Rayes, J, Wraith, D, Watson, S, Crispin, M, Drayson, M, Richter, A & Cunningham, A 2022, 'SARS-CoV-2 spike- and nucleoprotein-specific antibodies induced after vaccination or infection promote classical complement activation', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 13, 838780.

Billiald, P, Slater, A, Welin, M, Clark, J, Loyau, S, Pugnière, M, Jiacomini , IG, Rose, N, Lebozec, K, Toledano, E, François, D, Watson, S & Jandrot-Perrus, M 2022, 'Targeting platelet GPVI with glenzocimab: a novel mechanism for inhibition', Blood Advances.

View all publications in research portal


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