Trent Watkins, PhD

Asst Professor in Residence
Distinguished Professorship in Neurology
Division of Neuroimmunology and Glial Biology
Department of Neurology
+1 415 514-4168

The Watkins Lab seeks to harness intrinsic repair programs to restore function to the damaged and diseased nervous system. Using axon injury as a primary model, the lab's research focuses on the signaling pathways and transcriptional responses that determine the fates of distressed neurons. These responses include programs that can, in the case of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), enable remarkable axon regeneration and recovery of function. In the central nervous system (CNS), however, these same programs typically fail to overcome barriers to regeneration and instead can become major drivers of neurodegeneration. Understanding and controlling these stress signaling pathways and transcriptional programs therefore may generate opportunities for both neuroprotection and improved repair.

The Watkins Lab relocated in 2023 from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to the Division of Neuroimmunology and Glial Biology at UCSF. This move offers promising new opportunities for collaborative studies to understand the interplay among intrinsic neuronal stress responses, neuroinflammation, and myelin repair.

Featured Publications: 

Coordinated stimulation of axon regenerative and neurodegenerative transcriptional programs by Atf4 following optic nerve injury.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology

Somasundaram P, Farley MM, Rudy MA, Stefanoff DG, Shah M, Goli P, Heo J, Wang S, Tran NM, Watkins TA

DLK-dependent mitochondrial fission drives axon degeneration and neuronal cell death.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology

Gómez-Deza J J, Nebiyou M, Alkaslasi MR, Somasundaran P, Slavutsky AL, Ward ME, Watkins TA, Le Pichon CE

Dual leucine zipper kinase-dependent PERK activation contributes to neuronal degeneration following insult.


Larhammar M, Huntwork-Rodriguez S, Jiang Z, Solanoy H, Sengupta Ghosh A, Wang B, Kaminker JS, Huang K, Eastham-Anderson J, Siu M, Modrusan Z, Farley MM, Tessier-Lavigne M, Lewcock JW, Watkins TA