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Mark Watson, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Pathology & Immunology



Additional Titles

  • Director, NCTN Alliance Biorepositories and Biospecimen Resource
  • Director, Siteman Cancer Cetner Tissue Procurement Core Facility
  • Chair, NCIU Cooperative Group Banking Committee


  • BA, Biochemistry: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (1985)
  • PhD, Neurosciences: Washington University, St. Louis, MO (1992)
  • Medical Degree: Washington University, St. Louis, MO (1992)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology, Clinical Pathology


  • Graduate cum laude with honors in Biochemistry, Univ. Pennsylvania, 1985
  • Spencer T. Olin Fellowship, Washington University. 1991
  • Young Investigator Award, Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists. 1995, 1996

Research Interests

Our laboratory is interested in characterizing sets of human genes whose expression pattern may be used to design new diagnostic tests and treatment strategies for solid tumors. We are using high-density oligonucleotide arrays (GeneChips) to perform gene expression profiling on biopsy specimens from patients with breast, pancreatic, prostate, lung, and other carcinomas. Patterns of gene expression are correlated with traditional histopathology data and clinical outcomes to identify diagnostic signatures. In a related project, we are using Laser Capture Microdissection and transcript amplification to examine gene expression profiles in subsets of tumor cells (e.g. carcinoma in situ versus invasive cancer) within a single, histologically complex tumor specimen. The goal of this work is to elucidate the transcriptional regulatory networks involved in the malignant progression of epithelial tumors such as breast and prostate cancer.

A second research interest involves further characterization of a family of genes located on chromosome 11q13 and associated with human breast cancer. Mammaglobin and mammaglobin B, two novel genes isolated in our laboratory, as well as lipophilin A, lipophilin B, and CC10 all encode small, secreted epithelial proteins that may form combinatorial heteromers. Mammaglobin gene expression is restricted to the human mammary epithelium. More significantly, mammaglobin is expressed at elevated levels in almost 80% of human breast tumors. Understanding the function of mammaglobin and these other homologous proteins as well as the mechanisms controlling their tissue-specific expression will provide new insights into breast development and tumorigenesis. Furthermore, if over-expression of mammaglobin is contributory to breast cancer progression, results from these studies may identify therapeutic targets for modulating aberrant mammaglobin gene expression or protein function.

Clinical Interests

  • DNA Diagnostics
  • Informatics & Statistics


McDonald SA, Mardis ER, Ota D, Watson MA, Pfeifer JD, Green JM. ³Comprehensive Genomic Studies: Emerging Regulatory, Strategic, and Quality Assurance Challenges for Biorepositories.²  Am J Clin Pathol. 2012 Jul:138(1):31-41.  PMID 22706855; PMCID:  PMC3509484
Govindan R, Ding L, Griffith M, Subramanian J, Dees ND, Kanchi KL, Maher CA, Fulton R, Fulton L, Wallis J, Chen K, Walker J, McDonald S, Bose R, Ornitz D, Xiong D, You M, Dooling DJ, Watson M, Mardis ER, Wilson RK.  ³Genomic Landscape of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer in Smokers and Never-smokers.²  Cell. 2012 Sep 14;150(6):1121-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.08.024.  PMID:  22980976;  PMCID:  PMC3656590
Siddappa CM, Watson MA, Pillai SG, Trinkaus K, Fleming T, Aft R.  ³Detection of Disseminated Tumor Cells in the Bone Marrow of Breast  Cancer Patients using Multiplex Gene Expression Measurements Identifies  New Therapeutic Targets in Patients at High Risk for the Development of  Metastatic Disease.² Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Jan;137(1):45-56. doi:  10.1007/s10549-012-2279-y. Epub 2012 Nov6. PubMed PMID: 23129172
Spencer DH, Sehn JK, Abel HJ, Watson MA, Pfeifer JD, Duncavage EJ. Comparison of clinical targeted next-generation sequence data from  formalin-fixed and fresh-frozen tissue specimens.  J Mol Diagn. 2013  Sep;15(5):623-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2013.05.004. Epub 2013 Jun 26.  PMID: 23810758
Cottrell CE, Al-Kateb H, Bredemeyer AJ, Duncavage EJ, Spencer DH,  Abel HJ, Lockwaood CM, Hagemann IS, O¹Guin SM, Burceau LC, Sawyer CS, Oschwald D<, Stratman JL, Sher DA, Johnson MR, Brown JT, Cliften PF, George B, McIntosh LD, Shrivastava S, Nguyen TT, Payton JE, Watson MA, Crosby SD, Head RD, Mitra RD, Nagarajan R, Kulkarni S. Seibert K, Virgin HW 4th, Milbrandt J, Pfeifer JD.  Validation of a next-generation sequencing assay for clinical molecular oncology.  J Mol Diagn.  2014 Jan; 16(1):89-105.  doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2013.10.002.  Epub 2013 Nov 6. PMID:  24211365 [PubMed-in process]
McIntosh LD, Sharma MK, Mulhihill D, Gupta S, Juehne A, George B, Khot SB, Kaushal A, Watson MA, Nagarajan R.  caTissue suite to OpenSpecimen:  Developing an extensible, oopen source, web-based biobanking management system.  J Biomed Inform.  2015 Aug 29. pii: S1532-0464(15)00188-4.  doi:  10.1016/j.jbi.  2015.08.020.  [Epub ahead of print]  PMID:  26325296
Pillai SG, Dasgupta N, Siddappa CM, Watson MA, Fleming T, Trinkaus K, Aft R.  Paired-like Homeodomain Transcription factor 2 expression by breast cancer bone marrow disseminated tumor cells is associated with early recurrent disease development.  Breast Canmcer Res Treat.  2015 Oct; 153(3):507-17.  Epub 2015 Sept 23.  PMID:  26400846, PMCID:  PMC4589549
Waqar SN, Waqar SH, Trinkaus K, Gadea CA, Robinson CG, Bradley J, Watson MA, Puri V, Govindan R, Morgensztern D.  Brain Metastases at zpresentation in Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.  Am J Clin Oncol.  2015 Oct 15.  [Epub ahead of print]  PMID:  26359696

Lori Scantlan