Trent Watkins

Trent Watkins



Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

A.B., University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine
Postdoc, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA

Neuronal injury and cellular stress signaling pathways; axon regeneration and neurodegeneration

Neurons encounter a variety of insults that profoundly impact the function of the nervous system, from trauma (e.g., spinal cord injury) to neurodegenerative pathology (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease). The fate of injured neurons depends on their ability to respond and adapt. My laboratory aims to understand the mechanisms and consequences of neuronal injury signaling. This understanding will drive the development of new therapeutic strategies to enhance repair pathways and reduce pathological responses. Axonal damage provides an invaluable system for these investigations, providing: (1) distinct examples of the strikingly contrasting outcomes of injury signaling, from functional axon regeneration to extensive neurodegeneration; (2) technical simplicity of both in vitro and in vivo models, including genetic manipulation; and (3) application to persistent challenges in neurology and neurosurgery. My experience in drug development and clinical biomarkers research guides collaborations with industry and clinical partners for translation of our basic research insights.

Selected Publications

Watkins TA, Scholze AR (2014) Myelinating cocultures of rat retinal ganglion cell reaggregates and optic nerve oligodendrocyte precursor cells. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 2014(10):pdb.prot074971.

Watkins TA, Scholze AR (2014) Myelinating cocultures of purified oligodendrocyte lineage cells and retinal ganglion cells. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 2014(10):pdb.top070839.

Huntwork-Rodriguez S, Wang B, Watkins T, Ghosh AS, Pozniak CD, Bustos D, Newton K, Kirkpatrick DS, Lewcock JW (2013) JNK-mediated phosphorylation of DLK suppresses its ubiquitination to promote neuronal apoptosis. Journal of Cell Biology 202:747-763.

Watkins TA, Wang B, Huntwork-Rodriguez S, Yang J, Jiang Z, Eastham-Anderson J, Modrusan Z, Kaminker JS, Tessier-Lavigne M, Lewcock JW (2013) DLK initiates a transcriptional program that couples apoptotic and regenerative responses to axonal injury. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:4039-4044.

Howng SY, Avila RL, Emery B, Traka M, Lin W, Watkins T, Cook S, Bronson R, Davisson M, Barres BA, Popko B (2010) ZFP191 is required by oligodendrocytes for CNS myelination. Genes & Development 24:301-311.

Eisenbach M, Kartvelishvily E, Eshed-Eisenbach Y, Watkins T, Sorensen A, Thomson C, Ranscht B, Barnett SC, Brophy P, Peles E (2009) Differential clustering of Caspr by oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells. Journal of Neuroscience Research 87:3492-3501.

Emery B, Agalliu D, Cahoy JD, Watkins TA, Dugas JC, Mulinyawe SB, Ibrahim A, Ligon KL, Rowitch DH, Barres BA (2009) Myelin gene regulatory factor is a critical transcriptional regulator required for CNS myelination. Cell 138:172-185.

Watkins TA, Emery B, Mulinyawe S, Barres BA (2008) Distinct stages of myelination regulated by gamma-secretase and astrocytes in a rapidly myelinating CNS coculture system. Neuron  60:555-569.

Contact Information

Trent Watkins, Ph.D.
Department of Neurosurgery,
Department of Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, Room S730D
Houston, Texas 77030, U.S.A.

Tel: 713-798-8183

Comments are closed