Prof. Gerald F. Watts (DSc PhD DM FRACP FRCP)
Senior Academic in the School of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Western Australia and Senior Consultant Physician at the Royal Perth Hospital, where he is Winthrop Professor of Cardiometabolic and Internal Medicine. A graduate in medicine and biochemistry (Hons) from the University of London (Imperial College), he received his clinical and research training in university teaching hospitals (Southampton; Nottingham; St Marys, St Thomas, Guys: London) in the United Kingdom. His principal research interest is lipidology and cardiovascular disease.
Contribution to field of research: Professor Watts has published extensively, with key papers on the angiographic regression of coronary artery disease, endothelial dysfunction in dyslipidaemia and diabetes, use of stable isotopes in lipoprotein research, and the early detection of diabetic nephropathy. He was one of the first to publish on diabetic microalbuminuria, stable isotopes in lipoprotein research and vascular dysfunction in hypercholesterolaemia; he led the St Thomas’ Atherosclerosis Regression Study. Professor Watts has over 450 published works to his credit, including scientific articles, reviews and editorials, book chapters (14) and monographs (3), mostly as senior author. In 2013-14 he had invited reviews and editorials in Nature Cardiology, Lancet, Diabetes, Circulation Research and Progress in Lipid Research. Professor Watts currently has 20,126 career citations (Google Scholar 2015).He is an editor (associate, board) of Clinical Science, Journal of Clinical Lipidology, Current Opinion in Lipidology, Atherosclerosis.
Significant Honours and Awards
2014 WA Health Award (Winner) – The FHWA Primary Care Program
2014 Robert Levy Memorial Lecture Award (American Heart Association) for contributions to the pathophysiology of lipid metabolism
2012 WA Health Award (Finalist) – The FHWA Cascade Screening Program
2010 Visiting Senior Scholar (elected), Wolfson College, Oxford University
2006 GlaxoSmithKline Award for innovative research into PPAR regulators
2003 Doctor of Science (Imperial College, University of London) for sustained contributions to knowledge of lipid disorders, diabetes mellitus and vascular disease.
Patents: Professor Watts had held two patents: a software for assessing arterial wall function and a new treatment for enhancing the effects of PPAR-agonists on cardiovascular disease.
Funding: Professor Watts has a strong record of continuous research funding and has attracted multiple competitive research grants. These include competitive research funds from national bodies (NHMRC, National Heart Foundation, Diabetes Australia, Australia Kidney Foundation) and the pharmaceutical industry (c. $20 million over 20 years). He has held two NHMRC Centre of Clinical Excellence grants (1998-2001, 2002-8) based at the University of Western Australia and Royal Perth Hospital. He has also received significant WA state health funding over the last 7 years to establish the FHWA Program, based at Royal Perth Hospital.
Invited Presentations: Professor Watts has delivered several invited lectures to learned societies and academic bodies in Australia, Europe, South Africa, Japan, Israel, Malaysia, Peoples’ Republic of China, Taiwan, Canada and the United States. In 2014, he gave invited talks at the European Atherosclerosis Society (Madrid), National Lipid Association (Orlando), American Heart Association (Toronto), World Congress of Clinical Lipidology (Vienna) and FH Foundation (New York).
Leadership: Beyond multiple end-of-grant publications of high academic value, Professor Watts has leadership roles in a range of activities, including: Lead/expert panel member on guidelines for FH and complex dyslipidaemias (FH Australasia Network, European Atherosclerosis Society, International FH Foundation, American Heart Association, International Atherosclerosis Society 2011-14); chair of the FH Australasia Network, leading to publication of a national model of care, with clinical implementation, recent integration with primary care services and development of a web-based registry to aid clinical care, research and health policy across Australasia (2006-2014); lead of an international consortium on translational research into FH (’10-Countries’, 2014-16), supporting other countries: community prevalence (China), diagnostic tools (Vietnam), health economics (Spain), educational tools (Russia), health service research (Brazil). Together with patients and state health department, he established the first family support group for FH in Australia.
Supervision and Mentoring: Professor Watts contributes extensively to recruiting and mentoring higher degree students and post-doctoral fellows. He has supervised 17 PhD, 4 Masters, 7 BSc (Hons) and 15 MBBS students. Of the higher degree students, two have progressed to professorships, three to associate professorships and three to NHMRC fellowships. Professor Watts has also mentored two research fellows to substantive professorships at UWA and Curtin University and supervised several advanced FRACP trainees and registrars in clinical research, with 5 enrolling for higher degrees and 3 progressing to academic positions. Professor Watts has been the academic controller of several university teaching and learning courses and has initiated and developed units in medicine for dental students, problem based learning modules for medical students, and the Masters in Clinical Research at UWA. He was also the inaugural chairman of the Atherosclerosis Education Program run by the Australian Atherosclerosis Society that delivered high quality seminars to scientists, general practitioners and medical specialists.
Top 5 publications in the last 5 years
- Hooper AJ, Burnett JR, Watts GF. Contemporary Aspects of the Biology and Therapeutic Regulation of the Microsomal Triglyceride Transfer Protein. Circ. Res. 2015;116:193-205.
Invited expert review on the role of a novel and critical protein involved in lipid metabolism (Corresponding author).
- Watts GF, Gidding S, Wierzbicki AS, Toth PP, Alonso R, Brown WV, et al. Integrated Guidance on the Care of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia from the International FH Foundation. Int J Cardiol. 2014;171(3):309-25. Cites: 47 Leading international guidance on the care of FH (Chair and corresponding author).
- Chapman MJ, Ginsberg HN, Amarenco P, Andreotti F, Borén J, Catapano AL, Descamps OS, Fisher E, Kovanen PT, Kuivenhoven JA, Lesnik P, Masana L, Nordestgaard BG, Ray KK, Reiner Z, Taskinen M-R, Tokgözoglu L, Tybjærg-Hansen A, Watts GF. Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease: evidence and guidance for management. Eur Heart J. 2011;32(11):1345-61. Cites: 379 Leading international guidance on triglyceride-rich and high-density lipoprotein metabolism (Invited expert panel member and writing group).
- Nordestgaard BG, Chapman MJ, Ray K, Boren J, Andreotti F, Watts GF, et al. Lipoprotein(a) as a cardiovascular risk factor: current status. Eur Heart J. 2010;31(23):2844-53. Cites: 440 Leading international guidance on Lp(a) metabolism and its management (Invited expert panel member and writing group).
- Chan DC, Watts GF, Gan SK, Ooi EMM, Barrett PHR. Effect of ezetimibe on hepatic fat, inflammatory markers, and apolipoprotein B-100 kinetics in insulin-resistant obese subjects on a weight loss diet. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:1134-1139. Cites: 95 A unique study elucidating a new mechanism for the effect of limiting the enterocytic absorption of cholesterol on hepatic steatosis and lipid metabolism (Corresponding author and PI)