Dr Erica Watson

BSc (Calgary), PhD (Calgary)

Fellow (A), College Lecturer, Assistant Tutor, Postgraduate Mentor

College Roles

  • Fellow (A)
  • College Lecturer in Physiology
  • Assistant Tutor (Postgraduates)
  • Postgraduate Mentor

University Roles

  • University Associate Professor in Reproductive Biology, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


Email: edw23@cam.ac.uk


Dr Erica Watson is a developmental biologist with an interest in epigenetics. Her research explores how metabolic changes in an individual can increase risk of birth defects and pregnancy complications in their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Dr Erica Watson is a University Lecturer in reproductive biology at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN) in the University of Cambridge. She received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2008) at the University of Calgary in Canada and was awarded a Next Generation Fellowship (2009-2013) from the Center for Trophoblast Research in Cambridge to start her own research programme on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of birth defects. In 2013, Dr Watson took up a lectureship to continue her research at the Department of PDN and continues to play an active role in the Center for Trophoblast Research. She was awarded a Lister Prize fromthe Lister Institute for Preventative Medicine in 2015.

Research Interests

The research of Dr Watson explores how birth defects and pregnancy complications are passed between multiple generations without mutations. Her research uses mice as a model to tease apart metabolic, physiological, epigenetic, and molecular mechanisms that lead to the multigenerational inheritance of these defects, with specific focus on epigenetic patterns in germ cells and maternal-fetal interactions. Better appreciating the mechanism behind this type of transgenerational inheritance will increase our understanding of disease risk of non-communicable diseases and help us to establish preventative measures in the clinic.