Dr. Watts is co-director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) Genomics Shared Service supported by the UACC and the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center. He has 20 years of molecular biology experience with emphasis on analysis of nucleic acids including their isolation and quality control, sequencing, expression, and data analysis.
Currently Dr. Watts is utilizing next-generation sequencing to perform whole genome analysis of pathogens in clinical infections to improve diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Watts has developed methods to isolate pathogens from samples types such as swabs, tissue, and whole blood that allow both 16s rRNA sequencing and whole genome sequencing without the need for culture. In collaboration with Dr. Bonnie Hurwitz (Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering), Dr. David Armstrong (Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance) and Dr. Lee Cranmer (University of Washington, Seattle), and Dr. Faiz Anwer (UA Cancer Center), Dr. Watts is testing next-generation sequencing in diabetic foot ulcers and neutropenic fever patients.