Researchers at UCD


Ariane Watson

Marie Curie Experienced Researcher

School Of Medicine
Systems Biology Ireland
Temple Street
Dublin 1



I completed an honours degree in Genetics in 2012 in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science of University College Dublin (UCD). Subsequently, in September 2012, I was awarded funding to pursue a PhD under the Irish Reasearch Council's "Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme", supervised by Dr. Gerard Cagney in the Conway Institute of UCD and by Prof. Nevan J. Krogan in University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Gladstone Institute. 

My PhD involved the use of proteomics (e.g. mass spectrometry) and functional genomic screening (e.g. RNAi screening) approaches to investigate the physical and functional interactome of developmentally important protein complexes (UCD), as well as in dissecting the genetic interaction landscape of HIV-infected human cells (UCSF). I returned to Ireland from San Francisco in 2015 and concluded my PhD in June 2016 in UCD.

Following my PhD I have been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Action through System Biology Ireland's TOPMed10 programme. Under the supervision of Prof. Walter Kolch and Dr. Colm Ryan, I am currently investigating the role of crosstalk between epigenetic machinery and canonical signalling pathways in facilitating the development of drug resistance in late stage melanoma.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2017.
Title: TOPMed10 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship
Year: 2012.
Title: BSc (Genetics) Stage 4 Scholarship
Year: 2012.
Title: Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference Scholarship
Year: 2012.
Title: College of Science Medal
Year: 2012.
Title: Government of Ireland Postgraduate Schloarship Scheme


Year 2016 Institution: Conway Institute, University College Dublin
Qualification: PhD Subject: Development of physical and functional screening approaches to investigate protein and genetic regulatory networks
Year 2012 Institution: University College Dublin
Qualification: BSc (First Class Hons) Subject: Genetics



Book Chapters

Watson, A and Cagney, G. (2013) 'Proteome Analysis of Chromatin Complexes in Differentiating Stem Cells' In: Emili, A., Greenblatt, J., and Wodak, S (eds). Systems Analysis of Chromatin-Related Protein Complexes in Cancer. New York: Springer. , pp.197-209 [DOI] [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Oliviero, G., Streubel, G., Munawar, N., Watson, A., Manning, G., Bardwell, V., Bracken, A. P., Cagney, G. (2015) 'The variant Polycomb Repressor Complex 1 component PCGF1 interacts with a pluripotency sub-network that includes DPPA4, a regulator of embryogenesis'. Scientific Reports, . [DOI] [Details]
Oliviero G, Brien GL, Waston A, Streubel G, Jerman E, Andrews D, Doyle B, Munawar N, Wynne K, Crean J, Bracken AP, Cagney G. (2016) 'Dynamic Protein Interactions of the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 during Differentiation of Pluripotent Cells'. Molecular & cellular proteomics : MCP, . [DOI] [Details]
De Chiara, L., Andrews, D., Watson, A., Oliviero, G., Cagney, G. and Crean, J. (2017) 'miR302 regulates SNAI1 expression to control mesangial cell plasticity'. Scientific Reports, . [DOI] [Details]


Research Interests

Investigating crosstalk between epigenetics and canonical signalling pathways in acquired drug resistance in melanoma

BRAF(V600E) is one of the most common driver mutations in melanoma, and despite the introduction of targeted drugs with excellent clinical efficacy, prognosis for late stage patients remains poor. This surprising underperformance of Raf inhibitors is due to the rapid development of acquired drug resistance, which is largely attributed to the rewiring of signalling networks, allowing cells to bypass the drug inhibition of Raf. A common mechanism of network adaptation is the activation of alternative pathways, such as PI3K/Akt signalling pathways, and involves alteration of epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Alterations of epigenetic patterns, such as aberrant DNA methylation or histone post-translation modifications, has been identified in numerous cancers in recent years. Moreover, mutation of components of the epigenetic machinery have been identified as driver events in cancer. My research aims to elucidate crosstalk between epigenetic machinery and the network adaption of signalling pathways involved in acquired resistance to Raf inhibitors. Given the availability of inhibitors for several epigenetic proteins, discovering such vulnerabilities in drug-resistant melanomas could potentially provide an avenue for treatment of such cases through combinatorial therapuetics.