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Dr Kristin Watt

Faculty Feature: Meet Kristin Watt, PhD

CU Dental Assistant Professor in the Department of Craniofacial Biology

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Written by Laura Ramsey on November 14, 2023

Kristin Watt, PhD, joins the Department of Craniofacial Biology with extensive experience and great passion for biomedical research. 

Department Chair and Professor David Clouthier, PhD, said, "Dr. Watt was selected for our assistant professor position from a number of exceptional applicants. She had an impressive publication record as a post-doctoral fellow at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri. While there, she had developed a very compelling project aimed at understanding the basis for Treacher Collins syndrome (the syndrome that was the basis of the movie, “Wonder”). Her post-doctoral work formed the basis of her successful K99-R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, which she has brought with her to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus."

In addition to her research contributions, Watt is highly engaged in teaching and mentoring. She has served as a guest lecturer, undergraduate research mentor, and lab assistant, which shows her dedication to inspiring the next generation of scientists. She has received numerous accolades for research and mentoring activities, and is actively involved in professional service and outreach initiatives as well. Watt brings a wealth of expertise and a multifaceted approach to the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. 

Clouthier noted, "I foresee Dr. Watt’s research program rapidly expanding our understanding of RNA in normal facial development and adding to our national reputation as one of the top craniofacial biology/genetics departments in the country." 

Q&A Header

Why did you choose to pursue biomedical research?

I chose to go into biomedical research because I wanted to make a difference in medical care and treatment for children. During my graduate and postdoctoral training, I learned the importance of understanding very early stages of development and how disruptions in these early processes lead to a variety of craniofacial differences. I became fascinated by the dynamic nature of craniofacial development and how we can use animal models such as zebrafish to further our understanding of human development and disease. 

What are you looking forward to the most about your role and why?

I am thrilled to be starting a research lab in the Department of Craniofacial Biology. I look forward to interacting with colleagues in the School of Dental Medicine and finding ways to bridge the basic research that I do in the lab with translational applications. I am also excited for the opportunity to teach and train students and pass on the excellent mentoring and advice that I received as a trainee. 

What's something most people wouldn't know about you?

I played flute in the band and orchestra in college, and at one point contemplated adding a music major. I chose to pursue genetics instead, but the skills of practicing and performing I learned from music have helped in my scientific career, especially in preparing for presentations. I still play a little and find music a great way to refocus when I am writing. 

Topics: Research, Faculty