Dr. Watnick received his PhD in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Columbia University in 1999. Dr. Watnick is currently assistant professor at the Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School and research associate in the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Watnick is author on 20 peer-reviewed articles and has received several awards, such as the Samuel and Lewis Rover Award for outstanding research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and a Damon Runyon post-doctoral fellowship. He has also co-edited one text book in collaboration with Professor Lars A. Akslen on Biomarkers of the Tumor Microenvironment. Dr. Watnick has served as a grant reviewer for the Italian Ministry of Health and is an ad hoc reviewer for Nature, Cancer Research, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Science Translational Medicine.
Dr. Watnick’s expertise is in tumor stromal interactions, regulators of metastasis and gene regulation in epithelial and mesenchymal cells. His research group studies the regulation of angiogenesis, proliferation and motility in both epithelial cells and fibroblasts. They have identified a novel suppressor of metastasis, Prosaposin, which acts both locally and distally by stimulating the expression/activity of p53, which then stimulates the expression of Tsp-1. Significantly, Prosaposin also inhibits both primary tumor growth and metastasis when administered in a systemic fashion thus making it a potential therapeutic agent to stem the metastatic dissemination of human tumors. Dr. Watnick’s group has also developed a therapeutic peptide derived from Prosaposin, which is in late stage pre-clinical studies.