Joel Watts, PhD
Dr. Watts obtained his PhD in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology in 2008 from The University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. David Westaway and Dr. Gerold Schmitt-Ulms and then pursued postdoctoral studies under the guidance of Dr. Stanley Prusiner at UCSF. In July 2012, Dr. Watts was appointed as an Assistant Adjunct Professor within the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
The research interests of Dr. Watts include the prion diseases and related human neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. His research focuses on developing transgenic mouse and cellular models of neurodegenerative diseases that can be used to study the biology of these illnesses and as tools for developing novel therapeutics. In particular, Dr. Watts is interested in understanding the mechanisms of spontaneous prion formation in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the molecular basis of prion strains, the function of the cellular prion protein, and the prion-like properties of Aβ and tau aggregates. He is also interested in emerging neuroimaging paradigms and has been heavily involved in developing bioluminescence imaging models for monitoring neurodegeneration in live mice.