2004 Wylie Scholar
Director, Vascular Research Laboratory
Co-Director of the Wound Clinic
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Michael T. Watkins is working on developing new ways to repair thoracic aortic aneurysms, as well as addressing complications that occur after restoring blood flow in patients with critical limb ischemia.
Thoracoabdominal aneurysms are particularly difficult to treat. Located in the chest and abdomen, they usually begin close to the large blood vessels supplying the brain and arms and terminate near the major vessels supplying the kidneys, intestines, and lower extremities. Open surgical repair is the primary treatment for complex thoracoabdominal aneurysms, but this can cause spinal cord injury. Dr. Watkins is developing a drug to treat and prevent possible spinal cord injury following surgical repair of aortic aneurysms in the thorax.
Dr. Watkins also studies why tissues become damaged after blood flow is restored in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), which can cause chronic inflammation and even strokes. Dr. Watkins hopes to develop new treatments that will save patients’ limbs without complications.
Since receiving the Wylie Scholar Award, Dr. Watkins has become Director of the Vascular Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, which has received grants from the NIH and American Diabetes Association. With extensive teaching experience and being a national lecturer about vascular research, he was recently appointed to the Harvard Medical School Faculty Council.