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Department of Oncology



Caroline qualified in medicine from the University of Oxford in 2010 and started her haematology specialty training in Oxford in 2014, before moving to Cambridge in 2017 as a CRUK-funded clinical research fellow in Jamie Blundell’s lab at the Early Cancer Institute.  She was awarded her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2022 for her thesis titled ‘The Evolutionary Dynamics of Clonal Haematopoiesis and its Progression to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia’, which was awarded the University of Cambridge Milo Keynes Thesis prize (2021-2022).  Caroline obtained her certificate of completion of training (CCT) in haematology in January 2023 and is now working as a clinical research associate in the Early Cancer Institute and an Honorary Haematology Consultant at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.


Caroline’s interests lie in understanding the factors that influence clonal behaviour in blood and the identification of individuals at high risk of progression to blood cancer who might benefit from early intervention studies. She is interested in high sensitivity sequencing techniques, bioinformatics and wearable devices and she is chief investigator of the LEGACY blood study (

Key areas of interest:

  • CRUK Cambridge Centre research programmes: Early Detection (Secondary programme: Haematological Malignancies)
  • Tumour type/site:   Acute myeloid leukaemia, Myelodysplasia, Clonal Haematopoiesis


Key publications: 
  1. Mutation rates and fitness consequences of mosaic chromosomal alterations in blood.  Watson C, Blundell J. (2022) bioRxiv 10.1101/2022.05.07.491016
  2. Synonymous mutations reveal genome-wide driver mutation rates in healthy tissues.  Poon G, Watson C, Fisher D, Blundell J. (2021)  Nature Genetics 53(11): 1597-1605. doi: 10.1038/s41588-021-00957-1
  3. The evolutionary dynamics and fitness landscape of clonal hematopoiesis. Watson C, Papula A, Poon G, Wong W, Young A, Druley T, Fisher D, Blundell J. (2021) Science 367: 1449-1454. doi: 10.1126/science.aay9333.

Other Professional Activities

NCRI MDS working group

Clinical Research Associate
Honorary Haematology Consultant
Portrait photo of Dr Caroline Watson

Contact Details

Early Cancer Institute
University of Cambridge
Department of Oncology
Box 197, Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Hills Road
Available for consultancy