Director of Lipid Enzymology Laboratory, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Dr. Watkins did his undergraduate, graduate and medical training at Johns Hopkins, receiving an MD and a PhD in biochemistry in 1978. In the years which followed, he served as both a research associate and medical staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health, as well as Commissioned Officer Service for the United States Public Health Service.
Childhood X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (XALD), which was depicted in the 1992 movie "Lorenzo’s oil," results from destruction of myelin in the brain. Biochemically, XALD patients are unable to break down fatty substances called very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA). Because of this impairment, toxic VLCFA accumulate in the brain and other organs. A primary goal of the Watkins laboratory is to understand the biochemical basis of XALD and related genetic diseases. Patients with these diseases all have intellectual disabilities, adrenal gland insufficiency, and other significant health problems.
Pei, Z.; Sun, P.; Huang, P.; Lal, B.; Laterra, J.; Watkins, P.A. Acyl-CoA synthetase VL3 knockdown inhibits human glioma cell proliferation and tumorigenicity. Cancer Res. 2009 Dec 15;69(24):9175-9182.