Fiona Watt to receive 2016 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award
Professor Fiona Watt, Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King's, has been awarded the 2016 The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) | European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Women in Science Award for her work uncovering the mechanisms that control mammalian epidermal stem cell renewal and differentiation, and for discovering how these processes are deregulated in cancer, wound healing and inflammatory skin disorders.
The FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award is given in recognition of outstanding achievements by female researchers in life sciences. Winners of the award are role models who inspire future generations of researchers.
Fiona Watt has made numerous fundamental discoveries, most recently about how the epidermis interacts with different classes of dermal fibroblasts, and how these normal signalling mechanisms go awry in cancer and skin disease. Over the past few years, her work has focused on using new technologies to understand what controls the fate of human epidermal stem cells. Professor Watt was one of the first to discover that processes such as inflammation, physical forces and epigenetics influence skin stem cell behaviour.
Upon receiving news of her award, Professor Watt said ‘I am absolutely delighted to receive this honour’.
Fiona Watt was also recognized for her commitment to gender issues, her leadership qualities and her active mentorship of junior scientists. In a series of interviews she held with 24 female scientists she exposed the barriers and challenges that women who pursue a career in science face. The interviews were published in the Journal of Cell Science, for which she served as Editor-in-Chief for almost a decade, until 2011. As a stem cells expert she also played a key role in promoting the British government's investments in stem cell research.
The 2016 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award of 10,000 Euros will be presented to Fiona Watt on 6 September at the FEBS Congress in Ephesus / Kuşadası, Turkey, where she will give a special lecture.