Professor Watkins is interested in using molecular genetic analysis of cardiovascular disease as a tool to define disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets. In particular he focuses on inherited heart muscle diseases, in particular hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a relatively common Mendelian condition which puts affected individuals at risk of sudden cardiac death.
His group uses molecular biological, model organism and clinical research approaches, leading to the idea that energy compromise is a key disease mechanism, and clinical trials are under way to test new medical therapies based on this finding. The group's work on genetic causes of ‘sudden cardiac death’ syndromes has been translated into clinical practice through the Oxford BRC, leading to an NHS commissioned national DNA diagnostic service.
He also leads a research group investigating susceptibility genes for coronary artery disease, now the main cause of premature mortality worldwide
- Molecular genetics of inherited heart diseases
- Heart muscle diseases - cardiomyopathies
- Genetic susceptibility to coronary artery disease
- Using genetics and genomics to identify new drug targets
Professor Watkins has experience of working with the media.