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.   

4835_UoN_COMPARE_Logo_Colour_V6Steve 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 Editor-in-Chief of the journal Platelets and Trustee of The British Pharmacological Society and Platelet Society.

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.


  • 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.


Postgraduate supervision

Steve currently supervises 12 PhD as first or co-supervisor

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, EU, MRC, NIHR and Wellcome Trust.  Steve is also funded by major Pharma (Sanofi and Novartis) and has a collaboration with Acticor Biotech.

Other activities

Steve is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Platelets and Trustee of The British Pharmacological Society and Platelet Society.


  1. Chauhan A, Sheriff L, Hussain MT, Webb GJ, Patten DA, Shepherd EL, Shaw R, Weston CJ, Haldar D, Bourke S, Bhandari R, Watson S, Adams DH, Watson SP and Lalor PF (2020) The platelet receptor CLEC-2 blocks neutrophil mediated hepatic recovery in acetaminophen induced acute liver failure.  Nature Commun. 11, 1939
  2. Donner L, Toska LM, Krüger I, Gröniger S, Barroso R, Burleigh A, Mezzano D, Watson SP, Sun Y and Elvers (2020) The collagen receptor glycoprotein VI promotes platelet-mediated aggregation of β-amyloid Sci. Signal. 13, eaba9872
  3. Nicolson PLR, Welsh JD, Chauhan A, Thomas MR, Kahn ML and Watson SP (2020) Rationale for potential anti-inflammatory and antiplatelet effects of Btk inhibitors in COVID-19 infection.  Platelets 31, 685-88
  4. Nagy M, Perrella G, Dalby A, Becerra MF, Garcia Quintanilla L, Pike JA, Morgan NV, Gardiner EE, Heemskerk JWM, Azócar L, Miquel JF, Mezzano D and Watson SP (2020) Flow studies on human GPVI-deficient blood under coagulating and non-coagulating conditions Blood Adv 4, 2953–2961.
  5. Nicolson PLR, Nock SH, Hinds J, Garcia-Quintanilla L, Smith CW, Campos J, Brill A, Pike JA, Khan AO, Poulter NS, Kavanagh DM, Watson S, Watson CN, Clifford H, Huissoon A, Pollitt AY, Eble JA, Pratt G, Watson SP and Hughes CE (2021). Low dose Btk inhibitors selectively block platelet activation by CLEC-2. Haematologica 106: 208-219 
  6. Haining EJ, Lowe KL, Wichaiyo S, Kataru RP, Nagy Z, Kavanagh DPJ, Lax S, Di Y, Nieswandt B, Ho-Tin-Noé B, Mechrara BJ, Senis YA, Rayes J and Watson SP (2021) Lymphatic blood filling in CLEC-2-deficient mouse models.  Platelets 32: 352-367, Plenary paper
  7. Bourne JH, Colicchia M, Di Y, Martin E, Slater A, Roumenina LT, Dimitrov JD, Watson SP and Rayes J (2021) Heme induces human and mouse platelet activation through C-type-lectin-like receptor-2. Haematologica 106:626-629
  8. Pallini C, Pike JA, O’Shea C, Andrews RK, Gardiner EE, Watson SP and Poulter NS (2021)  Immobilised collagen prevents shedding and induces sustained GPVI clustering and signalling in platelets. Platelets 32, 59-73, Plenary paper
  9. Perrella G, Huang J, Provencale I, Swieringa F, Heubel-Moenen FCJI, Farndale RW, Roest M, van der Meijden PEJ, Thomas M, Ariëns RAS, Jandrot-Perrus M, Watson SP and Heemskerk JWM (2021) Non-redundant roles of platelet glycoprotein VI and integrin aIIbb3 in fibrin-mediated microthrombus formation.  Arterioscl. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 41: e97–e111
  10. Stapley R, Smith C, Haining EJ, Bacon A, Lax S, Pisarev V, Pisarev A, Watson SP, Khan AO and Morgan NV.  (2021) Heterozygous mutation SLFN14-K208N in mice mediates species differences in platelet and erythroid lineage commitment.  Blood Adv. 5: 377-390
  11. Xu R-G, Gauer JS, Baker SR, Slater A, Martin EM, McPherson HR, Duval C, Manfield IW, Bonna AM, Watson SP and Ariëns R.  (2021) GPVI interaction with fibrinogen is mediated by avidity and the fibrinogen αC-region Arterioscl. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 41:1092–1104
  12. Slater A, Di Y, Clark J, Jooss NJ, Martin EM, Alenazy F, Thomas M, Ariëns R, Herr AB, Poulter N, Emsley J and Watson S (2021) Structural characterisation of a novel GPVI nanobody-complex reveals a biologically active domain-swapped GPVI dimer. Blood 24 3443-3453
  13. Clark J, Neagoe RAI, Zuidscherwoude M, Kavanagh DM, Slater A, Martin EM, Soave M, Stegner D, Nieswandt B, Poulter NS, Hummert J, Herten D-P, Tomlinson MG, Hill SJ and Watson SP (2021) Evidence that GPVI is expressed as a mixture of monomers and dimers, and that the D2 domain is not essential for GPVI activation. Thromb. Haemost in press
  14. Cooper N, Altomare I, Thomas MR, Nicolson PLR, Watson SP, Markovstov V, Todd LK, Masuda E and Bussel JB (2021) Assessment of thrombotic risk during long-term treatment of immune thrombocytopenia with fostamatinib.  Ther Adv Hemat 12:1-12
  15. Chayoua W, Nicolson PLR, Meijers JCM, Kardeby C, Garcia-Quintanilla L, Devreese KMJ, Laat B-d, Watson SP and Groot PG (2021) Antiprothrombin antibodies induce platelet activation: a possible explanation for anti-FXa therapy failure in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome?  J. Thr. Haemost, 19: 1776-1782
  16. Bourne JH, Beristain-Covarrubias N, Zuidsherwoude M, Campos J, Di Y, Garlick E, Colicchia M, Terry LV, Thomas SG, Brill A, Bayry J, Watson SP and Rayes J. (2021) CLEC-2 promotes inflammatory macrophage emigration.  Front. Immunol. in press
  17. Barroso R, Bicknell R, Rainger GE, Watson SP and Sun Y.  (2021) AVEXIS technology identifies novel platelet-leukocyte binding partners including CD148-CD300a.  Blood Advances in press
  18. Smith C, Montague S, Kardeby C, Di Y, Lowe G, Lester W, Watson SP and Nicolson (2021) Anti-platelet drugs block platelet activation by vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis patient serum.  Blood in press

Please view a full list of Professor Watson's publications

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