Contacts

Debbie WatsonDr Debbie Watson

PhD, University of Sydney (2006),
BSc (Hons I), Macquarie University (1998)

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health (SMAH)
Genetics and Immunology Research Laboratory, Shoalhaven campus

Email: dwatson@uow.edu.au or drdebbiew2@gmail.com


Position
  • Research Fellow (Honorary), School of Biological Sciences

Research Interests

Immunology, genetics, transplantation and cancer

  • Development of therapeutic strategies (P2X7 receptor blockade) to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in humans
  • Investigating P2RX7 polymorphisms in human immune cells
  • Developing novel strategies to prevent transplant rejection
  • Developing a registry for people with rare and genetic kidney disease

Representative Publications 
  • Nicholas Geraghty, Lisa Belfiore, Diane Ly, Sam Adhikary, Stephen Fuller, Winnie Varikatt, Martina Sanderson-Smith, Vanessa Sluyter, Stephen Alexander, Ronald Sluyter and Debbie Watson. The P2X7 receptor blockade using Brilliant Blue G reduces serum human IFN-γ in a humanised mouse model of graft-versus-host disease. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 190 (1): 79-95, 2017.
  • Nicholas Geraghty, Kylie J Mansfield, Stephen Fuller, Debbie Watson and Ronald Sluyter. The P2X7 receptor is not essential for imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like disease. Purinergic Signalling, 13 (4): 405-15, 2017.
  • Rachael Bartlett, Vanessa Sluyter, Debbie Watson, Ronald Sluyter, Justin Yerbury. P2X7 antagonism using Brilliant Blue G reduces body weight loss and prolongs survival in female SOD1G93A amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mice. PeerJ. 2017 Mar 1;5: e3064. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3064.
  • Nicholas Geraghty, Debbie Watson, Sam Adhikary, Ronald Sluyter. The P2X7 receptor in skin biology and diseases. World Journal of Dermatology, 5 (2); 72-83, 2016.
  • Aleta Pupovac, Nicholas Geraghty, Debbie Watson, and Ronald Sluyter. Activation of the P2X7 receptor induces the rapid shedding of CD23 from human and murine B cells Immunology and Cell Biology, 93 (1), 77-85, 2015. 
  • Debbie Watson, Geoff Y. Zhang, Min Hu, Yuan Min Wang, Jeffery Fletcher, Mary Sartor, and Stephen I Alexander. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) plays a crucial role in prolonging allograft survival in an allodepletion (“pruning”) skin transplant model Transplant Immunology 30 (4), 168-177, 2014.
  • Ronald Sluyter and Debbie Watson. T cells Continue To Play on the ATP Circuit. Editorial. Journal of Immune Research 1 (1):1-2 2014. 
  • Min Hu, Jingjing Wu, Geoff Y Zhang, Yuan Min Wang, Debbie Watson, Shounan Yi, Wayne J Hawethorne, Phillip J O’Connell, and Stephen I Alexander. Selective depletion of Alloreactive T cells leads to Long-term Islet Allograft Survival Across a Major Histocompatibility Complex Mismatch in Diabetic Mice. Cell Transplantation 22 (10); 1929-1941, 2013. 
  • Debbie Watson, Min Hu, Geoff Y Zhang, Yuan Min Wang, Stephen I Alexander. Tolerance induction by removal of alloreactive T cells: in vivo and pruning strategies. Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation, 14 (4): 357-363, 2009. 
  • Debbie Watson, Guoping Zhang, Huiling Wu, Yuan Min Wang, Yiping Wang, David CH Harris, Stephen I. Alexander. CCL2 DNA Vaccine to Treat Renal Disease. International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 41 (4): 729-32, 2009. 
  • Min Hu, Debbie Watson, Geoff Y.Zhang, Nicole Graf, Yuan M. Wang, Mary Sartor, Brian Howden, Jeffery Fletcher, Stephen I. Alexander. Long-term Cardiac Allograft Survival across an MHC mismatch after “Pruning” of Alloreactive CD4 T cells. Journal of Immunology May 15 180 (10): 6593-603, 2008.

Current Students

PhD 

  • Peter Cuthbertson (PhD) 2018 - : The P2X7 receptor in inflammation and disease
  • Sam Adhikary (PhD) 2016 - ; Therapeutic strategies to prevent graft-versus-host disease
  • Nicholas Geraghty (PhD) 2015 - ; The P2X7 receptor in inflammatory disorders

Honours

  • Nicole Miles (BMedBiotech Honours) 2018; Post-transplant cyclophosphamide and interleukin-6 receptor blockade to prevent graft-versus-host-disease
Past Students 

Honours  

  • Peter Cuthbertson (BMedBiotech Honours) 2017; Characterising graft-versus-host disease in a humanised mouse model
  • Sam Adhikary (BMedBiotech Honours) 2015; Graft-versus-host disease and the genetics of the P2X7 receptor
  • Lisa Jurak (BSc Honours) 2015; Roles of P2X4 and P2X7 in the release of pro-mediators in Inflammation
  • Nicholas Geraghty (BMedBiotech Honours) 2014; P2X7 blockade as a potential therapy for graft-versus-host disease
  • Lisa Belfiore (BMedBiotech Honours) 2013; P2X7 blockade as a novel therapeutic strategy to prevent graft-versus-host diseas

Abbreviated CV 
  • 2013-2018 Honorary Research Fellow (part-time), School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health (SMAH), University of Wollongong, NSW
  • 2009-2013 NHMRC Australian Research Training Fellow (part-time), Centre for Medical Bioscience (CMB), School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW
  • 2008-2009 Honorary Research Fellow (part-time), School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW
  • 2002-2013 Research Assistant (part-time), Centre for Kidney Research, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, NSW
  • 2002-2005 PhD student (full-time) and NHMRC Dora Lush Biomedical Research Scholarship recipient, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine, NSW ‘Novel mechanisms of tolerance induction in the mouse’.
  • 1998-2001 Research Assistant (full-time) Centre for Kidney Research, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, NSW

Professional Affiliations and Societies
  • The Transplantation Society (TSS), 2015-2018
  • Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), 2001-2018
  • Australasian Society for Immunology (ASI), 2004-2006, 2009-2018
  • University of Wollongong Cancer Drug Discovery Group (CDDG), 2014-2018
  • Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), 2012-2018

Awards 
  • 2018 TTS-TSANZ Mentee-Mentor Travel Award, Transplantation Science Symposium, Madrid, Spain
  • 2018 In Vitro Technologies Travel Award, Eradicate Cancer conference, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2015 AMP Tomorrow Fund Award, Sydney Town Hall
  • 2015 TTS-TSANZ Mentee-Mentor Travel Award, Transplantation Science Symposium, Lorne Victoria
  • 2015 SMAH Early-Mid Career Researcher (ECMR) Travel Grant, SMAH, University of Wollongong
  • 2008 Young Investigator Award, Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), International Congress, Sydney
  • 2006 Novartis Travel Award, TSANZ, to travel to the World Transplant Congress (WTC), Boston
  • 2005 Novartis Young Investigator Award, TSANZ, Canberra
  • 2005 Novartis Travel Award, TSANZ, to travel to the American Transplant Congress (ATC), Seattle
  • 2003 Poster Prize, FASEB Summer Conference, Vermont
  • 2002 President’s Prize, TSANZ, Canberra
  • 2002 Young Investigator Award, TSANZ, Canberra
  • 2002 Young Investigator Award, Annual Hospital Meeting, Children’s Hospital at Westmead 
Last reviewed: 12 April, 2018