11 Feb, 2022

Professor Fiona Watt

Director, Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, King’s College, London, UK

Every year on the 11th February, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science seeks to promote full and equal access for women and girls to participate in science. Their discoveries and research are just as important. We are delighted to welcome one of many inspiring role models for our future generations: Professor Fiona Watt.


Fiona Watt is an internationally recognised scientist for her work on stem cells in healthy and diseased skin. She obtained her DPhil from the University of Oxford and carried out postdoctoral research at M.I.T., Cambridge, USA. She established her first lab at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London and then moved to the London Research Institute. From 2006 to 2012 she was Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute and Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, University of Cambridge. She moved to King’s College London in September 2012 to take up the position of Director of the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine. Since April 2018 Fiona has been on secondment as the Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council in the UK, and as of July 2021 she has been appointed as the new Director of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Fiona Watt has received several awards and honours. In 2008 she became the first woman president of the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and won the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Women in Cell Biology Senior Award. She won the inaugural MRC Suffrage Science Heirloom award in 2011, and FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award in 2016. Fiona Watt is a vocal advocate for women in science. In a series of articles in 2004 she examined the struggles women face in ‘getting to the top’ and how personal lives shape careers. She has also written candidly about her own experiences and collaborated with the New York Stem Cell Foundation to define actionable strategies for advancing women in science, engineering, and medicine.

Fiona’s major research interests are in how the differentiated state of adult tissues is maintained and how this information can be harnessed for regenerative medicine.

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