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Fellows Directory

Fiona Watt

Fiona Watt

Professor Fiona Watt FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2003


Fiona Watt has explored the role of stem cells in maintaining the skin, which is constantly repaired and replaced throughout our lifetime. She has discovered factors that control how stem cells differentiate, shedding light on how this process might be disrupted in cancers of the mouth and skin.

Fiona’s work has identified intrinsic and extrinsic signalling molecules and receptors that control how stem cells renew themselves, adopt different roles within the epidermis, and cluster together to form a secure envelope around the body. Working with bioengineers and chemists, she established culture conditions that might enable human stem cells to form new skin.

Fiona is co-leader of the Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative (HipSci), which aims to create a national induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell resource for cellular genetic studies in the United Kingdom. She is also director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform hub on immuno-modulation of stem cells. She became the first woman President of the International Society of Stem Cell Research in 2008.

Professional positions

Director, European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Other
    • Publications, Public understanding of science
  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)


Stem cells

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