Professor Christine Watson

BSc (Glasgow), MA (Cantab), PhD (Imperial), FMedSci

Fellow Emerita

College Roles

  • Fellow Emerita

University Roles

  • Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pathology
  • Deputy Head of the School of Biological Sciences


Telephone: 01223 333725



I graduated with an Honours degree in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow and a PhD in Molecular Genetics from Imperial College London. Following postdoctoral work at the Institute of Cancer Research in London and the University of St Andrews, I moved to the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh where I set up my own laboratory working on mammary gland biology. I moved to Cambridge in 1998.

I am a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and Deputy Editor of Breast Cancer Research. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2017 I was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Research Interests

Mammary gland development and breast cancer.

Research in my laboratory is focussed on understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control two essential processes for mammary gland development: commitment of stem cells to the luminal and basal lineages and the execution of cell death and tissue remodelling during post-lactational regression (involution). We use insights gained from this work to develop new approaches for the detection and treatment of breast cancer.

Selected publications:

  1. Sargeant TJ, Lloyd-Lewis B, Resemann HK, Ramos-Montoya A, Skepper J, Watson CJ. Stat3 controls cell death during mammary gland involution by regulating uptake of milk fat globules and lysosomal membrane permeabilization. Nat Cell Biol. 2014 Nov;16(11):1057-68.
  2. Pensa S, Neoh K, Resemann HK, Kreuzaler PA, Abell K, Clarke NJ, Reinheckel T, Kahn CR, Watson CJ. The PI3K regulatory subunits p55α and p50α regulate cell death in vivo. Cell Death Differ. 2014 Sep;21(9):1442-50.
  3. Oliver CH, Khaled WT, Frend H, Nichols J, Watson CJ. The Stat6-regulated KRAB domain zinc finger protein Zfp157 regulates the balance of lineages in mammary glands and compensates for loss of Gata-3. Genes Dev. 2012 May 15;26(10):1086-97.
  4. Hughes K, Wickenden JA, Allen JE, Watson CJ. Conditional deletion of Stat3 in mammary epithelium impairs the acute phase response and modulates immune cell numbers during post-lactational regression. J Pathol. 2012 May;227(1):106-17.
  5. Anderson LH, Boulanger CA, Smith GH, Carmeliet P, Watson CJ. Stem cell marker prominin-1 regulates branching morphogenesis, but not regenerative capacity, in the mammary gland. Dev Dyn. 2011 Mar;240(3):674-81.
  6. 6. Kreuzaler PA, Staniszewska AD, Li W, Omidvar N, Kedjouar B, Turkson J, Poli V, Flavell RA, Clarkson RW, Watson CJ. Stat3 controls lysosomal-mediated cell death in vivo. Nat Cell Biol. 2011 Mar;13(3):303-9.