Dr. Neil Watkins was appointed Chief of Research at CancerCare Manitoba and Director of the Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology in June 2019. His responsibilities include oversight of preclinical, translational and clinical research in cancer and blood disorders. This includes providing leadership and guidance to scientists, clinical researchers and stakeholders. He works with the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba Foundation in a strategic partnership with the goal of supporting excellence in research across the cancer journey.
After completing medical school, internal medicine training and a PhD in Perth Western Australia, Dr. Watkins moved to Baltimore, MD for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Cancer Centre. He subsequently was promoted to Assistant Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine before returning to Australia as the Professor of Cancer Biology at Monash University in Melbourne in 2009. In 2014, he moved to Garvan Institute in Sydney Australia as the inaugural Petre Chair in Cancer Biology before joining CancerCare Manitoba in 2019.
Dr. Watkins’ research focuses on lung and paediatric cancers, encompassing scientific approaches that include cell biology, genomics, drug development and preclinical models of cancer. He is most well-known for his work linking activation of embryonic signalling pathways in cancer to new treatments for brain tumours in children, and for an aggressive form of lung cancer in adults.