Fiona WattCentre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, King's College London School of Medicine, UK F1000 Section Head (since 11 July 2001)
Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
1979 DPhil, Oxford University
Postdoctoral work at MIT, Cambridge, USA
Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellow, Academy of Medical Sciences
Honorary Foreign Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Member, Academia Europaea
Professor Fiona Watt is studying normal skin cells in order to understand what goes wrong in skin cancer. In particular, she is carrying out pioneering research into skin stem cells. These long-lived cells can multiply to produce many different types of skin cell and are believed to play a central role in the development of skin cancer.
Our skin has a highly complex structure consisting of several layers of cells. Stem cells, found in the bottom layers, multiply to produce more cells that then move up to the surface. As they do so, these cells change to become mature skin cells or 'keratinocytes' that make up structures such as hair follicles and sweat glands.
The balance of cells in the skin is normally tightly controlled. But when too many cells are produced and this careful organisation is disrupted, it can lead to cancer.
Professor Watt is investigating exactly what goes wrong in skin cancer by studying the molecular cues that control decision-making in skin cells.
Fiona Watt has been the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Cell Science since 1992.
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