Howard Q. Ferguson Distinguished Professor
Area of Interest
Dr. Watkins studies the molecular basis for interpatient differences in the disposition of drugs. He is particularly interested in the major drug metabolizing enzyme termed CYP3A4 and the major drug tranporter, P-glycoprotein. CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein appear to be major determinants of the disposition of many drugs used to treat cancer, such as taxotere, taxol and etoposide. The field of oncology has been a major focus of Dr. Watkins research since the drugs used in this field generally have narrow therapeutic windows. His research therefore has direct application to clinical oncology. In recent years, he has focused his interests on the roles of CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein in limiting oral absorption of drugs. This research has direct implications concerning oral administration of cancer drugs that currently must be administered intravenously.