Fiona L. Watson Associate Professor of Biology

Fiona L. Watson

Howe 413

Joined W&L Faculty in 2008
Associate Professor, Washington and Lee University, 2014 - present
Assistant Professor, Washington and Lee University, 2008 - 2014
Howard Hughes Teaching and Research Fellow, Davidson College, 2006-2008, Mentor: Barbara Lom
Postdoctoral Fellow:
     Harvard University, 2001-2005, Advisor: Dietmar Schmucker
     Harvard University, 1999-2001, Advisor: Rosalind Segal


Ph.D. - Harvard University, 1999. Advisor: Rosalind Segal
M.S. - Dalhousie University, 1993. Advisor: Robert Elner
B.S. - Honors, Dalhousie University, 1988


My overall research interests encompass two main areas of investigation: 1) the recovery of optic nerve axons of adult Xenopus using a nerve crush injury model, and 2) the effects of pesticide exposure on the neurogenesis of sensory neurons.


Rapid Communication in Animals (Biology 111)
CSI: W&L (Biology 160/Chemistry 160)
Cell Biology (Biology 211)
Neural Imaging (Biology 280/ Neur 395)
Cell Signaling in Diseases (Biology 295)
Developmental Biology (Biology 365) / Animal Development (Biology 222)

Selected Publications

Whitworth, GB, BC Misaghi*, DM Rosenthal*, EA Mills, DJ Heinen*, AH Watson*, CW Ives*, SH Ali*, K Bezold, N Marsh-Armstrong, FL Watson. 2016. Translational profiling of retinal ganglion cell optic nerve regeneration in Xenopus laevis. Dev.Biol. 426(2):360-373. PMID: 27471010

Watson, FL, H Schmidt*, ZK Turman*, N Hole*, H Garcia*, J Gregg*, J Tilghman*, and EA Fradinger. 2014. Organophosphate pesticides induce morphological abnormalities and decreased locomotor activity and heart rate in Danio rerio and Xenopus laevis. Environ Toxicol Chem 33(6):1337-45. PMID: 24677261

Watson, FL, RJ Miller, SA Stewart. 2013. Spatial and Temporal Variation in Size at Maturity for Female American Lobster in Nova Scotia. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 70: 1240–1251. ISSN: 0706-652X

Watson, FL, E Mills, X Wang*, C Guo, DF Chen, N Marsh-Armstrong. 2012. A Cell-Type Specific Transcriptional Profiling Method in Xenopus laevis. Dev Dyn241: 1960–1972. PMID: 23074098

Pazyra-Murphy, M, A Hans, SL Courchesne, C Karch, KE Cosker, HM Heerssen, FL Watson, T Kim, ME Greenberg, and RA Segal. 2009. A Retrograde Neuronal Survival Response: Target-Derived Neurotrophins Regulate MEF2D and bcl-w. Journal of Neuroscience 29 (20): 6700 – 6709. PMID: 19458239

Watson, FL and B Lom. 2008. More than a Picture: Helping Undergraduates Learn to Communicate Through Scientific Images. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 7:27-35.

Chen, B., M Kondo, A Garnier, FL Watson, R Puettmann-Holgado, D Lamar, D Schmucker. 2006. The molecular diversity of Dscam is functionally required for neuronal wiring specificity in Drosophila. Cell 125:607-620. PMID: 16678102

Watson, FL, R Puettmann-Holgado, F Thomas, D Lamar, M Kondo, V Rebel, D Schmucker. 2005. Alternative splicing of Dscam in the immune system of invertebrates: Convergent evolution of immunoglobulin receptor diversity? Science 309: 1874-1878. PMID: 16109846

Bhattacharyya, A, FL Watson, SL Pomeroy, YZ Zhang, CD Stiles, RA Segal. 2002. High resolution imaging demonstrates dynein based retrograde transport of activated Trk receptors. Journal of Neurobiology. 51(4):302-12. PMID: 12150505

Watson, FL, HM Heerssen, A Bhattacharyya, L Klesse, RA Segal. 2001. Neurotrophins use the Erk5 pathway to mediate a retrograde survival signal. Nature Neuroscience 4(10):981-988. PMID: 11544482

Watson, FL, HM Heerssen, DB Moheban, MZ Lin, CM Sauvageot, A Bhattacharyya, SL Pomeroy, RA Segal. 1999. Rapid nuclear responses to target derived neurotrophins require retrograde transport of ligand-receptor complex. J. Neurosci. 19(18): 7889-7900. PMID: 10479691

Watson, FL, MA Porcionatto, A Bhattacharyya, CD Stiles, RA Segal. 1999. Trk A glycosylation regulates receptor localization and activity. J. Neurobiol. 39(2): 323-36. PMID: 10235685

Bitting L, FL Watson, BF O’Hara, TS Kilduff, HC Heller. 1999. HSP70 expression is increased during the day in a diurnal animal, the golden-mantled ground squirrel Spermophilus lateralis. Mol. Cell Biochem. 199(1-2): 25-34. PMID: 10544948.

O'Hara, BF, FL Watson, HK Srere, H Kumar, SW Wiler, SK Welch, L Bitting, HC Heller, and TS Kilduff. 1999. Gene expression in the brain across the hibernation cycle. J. Neurosci. 19(10): 3781-90. PMID: 10234010

Bhattacharyya, A, FL Watson, TA Bradlee, SL Pomeroy, CD Stiles, RA Segal. 1997. Trk receptors function as rapid retrograde signal carriers in the adult nervous system. J. Neurosci. 17(18): 7007-7016. PMID: 9278536

O'Hara, BF, FL Watson, R Andretic, SW Wiler, KA Young, L Bitting, HC Heller, and TS Kilduff. 1997. Daily variation of CNS gene expression in nocturnal vs. diurnal rodents and in the developing rat brain. Brain Res Mol Brain Res 48(1): 73-86. PMID: 9379853

Bitting, L, EL Sutin, FL Watson, LE Leard, BF O'Hara, HC Heller and TS Kilduff. 1994. c-fos mRNA increases in the ground squirrel suprachiasmatic nucleus during arousal from hibernation. Neuroscience Letters 165(1-2):117-21. PMID: 8015710.

O'Hara, BF, KA Young, FL Watson, HC Heller, and TS Kilduff. 1993. Immediate early gene expression in brain during sleep deprivation: Preliminary observations. Sleep 16(1):1-7. PMID: 8456228

Watson, FL, and R Miller. 1991. Distribution of lobster larvae along the Scotian Shelf: 1978-1981. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 1801: 24pp.


2006 - present  Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN)
1990 - present  Society for Neuroscience (SfN)